The person in charge of supply considerations for the Lift Company of the Aviation Battalion I'm hanging out with decided I ought to sign a hand receipt for the flight gear that I've been wearing for the past month. The helmet and vest, and one of the pieces of technology which aviators carry, are all worth a lot of money, so I guess they wanted to make sure they'd get reimbursed if I lost any of it, or something. I'm grateful to have been able to use it.
The Sergeant who is responsible for making sure flight gear is serviceable actually made a name tape for the flight helmet I've been using, which delighted me to no end. The Crew Chiefs and a few pilots who noticed it thought it was pretty fun, too.
While I was in Iraq, my "little friend" (who can be seen in the photo above, if one looks closely) and I travelled all over the Multinational Division - Baghdad battlespace together (much to the chagrin of one of the Chaplain NCOs). He and I have spent a lot of time in helicopters here in Kosovo now.
In fact, now that I'm pretty much done with flying (sadly!), he and I have racked up more than 72 hours of flight time, which includes 31 hours of night-vision goggles (NVGs). Not bad for being a newbie to the world of aviation, I'd say. (It's actually more time than a couple of the pilots have logged. Go figure.)
One of the Warrant Officers in the Lift Company, a pilot who's been flying helicopters for many years now, upon hearing of how many flight hours I've amassed in the past six weeks, said rather dryly: "And to think I'd believed up until now that the Catholic Church only had flying nuns!"
Blessings and peace to one and all,
Fr. Tim, SJ