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#1 lmopar69 Jul 02, 2010 09:35 AM

You have got to be kidding me...
 
Well guys, here's an interresting story for you from Kandahar.

I was scheduled to fly a couple days ago for an 8 hour mission with a Captain as my copilot. The young Captain did fine first off. Anyway, on to the story.

We finished our mission in about 6.8 hours, and about 11 of "duty day". Now we have rules about this stuff... we are only allowed 12 hours of duty day doing aviation related duties, anything more than that, we have to formally request an extension. We can get 2 hours from our commander, and then it just goes up the chain from there if we need more time to finish whatever we are doing.

Same thing applies to flight time. We are allowed 8 hours of day time, 7 hours mixed day/night/night vision goggles and 6 hours of only NVG flight in a day. Anything more, we have to ask for an extension.

So, back to my story. We finished our mission in about 6.8 hours. I decided to do a recon of this area where the "hodgies" keep shooting rockets at us from. So, I called our "Battle Captain" on the radio to check in and let them know what we were doing. When I did, I immediatly got a call back from one of our unit IP's (Instructor Pilot). He was on Medevac chase and they were being called out on a "CAT A". CAT. A is life, limb or eyesight injury... IMPORTANT STUFF!!! Anyway, his aircraft broke on runup, so he could not go. He asked if my crew could support the Med on this mission. We said of course we could, we just needed to be approved for that type of mission. He said he would take care of that for me, and the Battle Captain then called and told us we would be doing the med mission. And off we went.

Well, to make a REALLY long story short, I quickly realized we would go over the 12 hour "duty day" to complete the mission. So, I asked for a duty day extension. It was granted... so, we continued on.

The mission took WAY longer than it should have (2.4 hours to be exact). So, right in the middle of it, I realized I would need another extension for flight time because we would be going over 8 hours day and then even into night time (where Im only allowed 7 hours). So, I sent a text with a device we have on the aircraft asking for the extension. After about 20 min, still no answer, so I called on our SAT COM radio... no answer. I tried this for about an hour continuously. Nothing. Well, since it was an American soldier, we obviously continued the mission and got him to the hospital he needed to be at.

Once we were "home" we were at 9.1 hours!!! Thats a VERY LONG day in a helicopter for those of you who dont know. Well, that is 2.1 hours more than we were allowed based on our rules without the required extensions... which I tried like heck to get. So, I now have a pissed off 0-6 and 0-5.

Well, we all know doo doo rolls down hill. So, as of tomorrow morning, I will not be flying for 2 weeks. I will be working at our Battalion in an office for the next 14 days.

The only good thing that came out of all of this is that the solider made it to the hospital and is doing well. Doing "the right thing" sure does suck sometimes.

Laine.

#2 kmopar69 Jul 02, 2010 09:51 AM

I don't care what any O-anything says....taking care of that solider is more important than getting permission from someone who is now all kinds of butt hurt cus he didn't get to say yes before hand! Although getting stuck in an office for the next 14 days totally sucks for you, cus I know how much you love doing paperwork.

#3 budkeywest Jul 02, 2010 10:27 AM

Fido
 
Just remember Karma....this act of taking care of the troop might not come back to you a week, a month or even years...but it will come back to you tenfold.

I had a buddy in Desert Storm who was a Commander of a postal company...if you remember, the mail was a BIG thing....when allthe trucks had been taken for movement, this young LT had no way of getting the mail to the units....so he liberated a garbage truck, got the mail to the troops and acomplished the "high profile" mission. No harm done, no one got hurt....but he got relieved for his actions. He should have been commended.

My dad used to tell me storied of how they "Liberated" German homes to sleep in during WWII. He also sent me a letter while I was in BAsic training with this note: "Illegitimis non Carborundum" ~ "Don't Let the bastards get you down". I had that with me at every duty station I was assigned.

Turn these 14 days into something positive. Come up with a solution for the commo SOP for situations like this. Get it streamlined in a positive, procative way. As long as you don't get any non-judicial punishment...FIDO !

Hopefully just some words of encouragement!

Stay safe and keep taking care of the troops!

Happy 4th! Thanks for your service!!!!!

Bud

#4 verticalspark Jul 02, 2010 11:04 AM

We used to joke about having to spend more time doing paper work than wrenching on planes. About 2/3 of the way through your story I was ready to write some smart@ss comment about doing more paperwork then flying. But it seems that has already been taken care of:D Sucks to hear about being grounded but most everybody thinks it was worth it. Have a good 4th.

#5 lmopar69 Jul 02, 2010 11:39 AM

Thanks for all the comments. "Illegitimis non Carborundum" I'll have to remember that one. Great stories! And as for mail, it is still a HUGE thing! That guy is my kinda guy for sure.

Laine.

#6 cynjon Jul 02, 2010 12:39 PM

Laine, sorry to hear about your temp grounding...sometimes the bureaucracy of the military leadership process is enough to make you pull your hair out. Sometimes you have to do the right thing and accept the consequences later...but like you said, the important thing to remember is that you made a difference to a wounded soldier. Thanks for what you do!

#7 FrogChief Jul 02, 2010 02:56 PM

Keep kicking ass bro.

Semper Fi. ;)

#8 Jimmy JFlyer Jul 02, 2010 05:13 PM

Laine, I sincerely thank you for what you do and God Bless You and Yours! :)

Jimmy

#9 Jack Crossfire Jul 02, 2010 05:38 PM

They're basically writing off pilot rules in lieu of unmanned copters. The A160 goes 24 hours without any fatigue day & night. Grounding pilots for 2 weeks is just the beginning.

#10 RCMC Jul 02, 2010 07:10 PM

Laine,

Everytime you get to thinking about how bad that desk time is just think about the life you saved and the holidays that guy will have with his loved ones.

If I were the boss there I'd throw a parade.

Thanks for taking one for the team.

RCMC

#11 lmopar69 Jul 02, 2010 09:24 PM

Thanks guys. Im sure I wont die from 2 weeks pushin papers. I'll do it and do it well, but I dont have to like it! ;)

Laine.

#12 serasbach Jul 02, 2010 09:32 PM

Everyone knows you made the right choice- I'd bet on the inside, even your 0-5's and O-6's feel that way too. They probably never responded when you asked for permission because they knew what the right choice was, but they didn't want to be the ones allowing the rule violation. I was in the service myself, and I've seen how people act when common sense overrules strict protocols. You are a hero, and you make us all proud. Thank you sir for everything you are doing and have to put up with.

#13 Vicarious Jul 02, 2010 09:43 PM

Good for you for taking it like a man! I just hope those officers don't need any emergency transport while you're piloting a swivel chair! Hope 2 weeks passes quick!

#14 lmopar69 Jul 02, 2010 10:02 PM

Thanks guys. Me and my swivel chair and keyboard should be ok for a couple weeks. At least I get air conditioning and lunch every day! That will be nice!

Laine.

#15 Matt Howard Jul 02, 2010 10:40 PM

I would think 100% of other pilots in your situation would do the same thing, good on ya.


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