Ghosts of Vietnam

The Hueys we flew in today were the same ones they used in Vietnam.  They are small and very maneuverable.  I was a little afraid I would fall out.  My brain knew that the chances were small.  I knew and felt that when the helicopter banks, you are pushed down into the seats, not out of the helicopter.  My body didn’t believe it, however.  When my brain instructed my hand to let go of the seat to take a picture, my hand didn’t always get the word, so I missed some cool bank shots.  In defense of my fortitude, take a look at my seat.  You may be able to understand my dilemma.

We were doing reconnaissance of the battle space with the Marines and an Iraqi colonel.  They understood the terrain much better than I did.  I was glad that I got to go along.  When they pointed out the important features, I could understand the logic, but I admit that I was mostly thrilled by the views and the adventure.   

Above is Lake Tharthar.  The little ripples are birds flying off the water.  It was like watching a nature show.  Below is an isolated farm.

Flying in the Huey gave me greater appreciation for the courage of the men who served in Vietnam.  I could hardly imagine flying this platform into a battle where committed guys on the ground were shooting at you.  The Vietnam Vets deserved a better welcome home than we gave them.