Hillbilly Deluxe

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July 29th 2008
Published: August 19th 2008
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We arrived at our layover destination about 0200 and had to catch a bus to the helicopter terminal to get our connecting flight. Our helo did not leave until sunrise so we slept in the terminal on the benches for a few hours. As the sun rose we took a bus to the flight line. There were helos everywhere - as far as the eyes could see. Our bird was named the “Hillbilly Deluxe,” which is not as cool as “Bachelor’s Delight” but was a great helo. We watched the crew do their flight checks and then boarded the chopper. After we were settled the Chief fired up the engines and the rotors began to spin and blow dust everywhere. The Crew Chief bungee corded the doors open so that we could fly in the open air. As we took off we headed hovered close to the ground and waited for some other choppers to follow us. We took flew over the countryside between a city Northeast of Baghdad to Camp Victory. The land is so baron with lots of irrigated crops and many dirt/stone shacks. The poverty is amazing. I was so taken by the experience that I did not sense the danger that comes with flying in a chopper over unsecured territory. I watched for suspicious people and things as I took some pictures. The crew fired their M249 automatic weapons a few times. That is quite a rush. The closer we got to the city the bird began to gain altitude as to avoid RPR (Rocket Propelled Grenade) and IRAMs (Improvised Rocket Assisted Mortars). I could see across the city - buildings, mosques, and the Euphrates.
We landed with no incident. Once we arrived we were picked up by our hosts and they took us to our quarters to settle in. After getting settled I went to the PX and got a new pair of PT shorts and had Taco Bell for dinner. They have a Taco Bell at Camp Victory which is a treat I haven’t had in a while. Tonight they hosted a banquet for the conference attendees. The Army Band of Camp Victory played jazz and slower instrumental music. The banquet was on the third floor of the Aw Faw palace which overlooks the irrigation ponds built by Saddam. The view was nice and the temperature was hot. I ran into 2 Soldiers that I went to Officer Basic Course with in 2005. It was nice to see them again. What a small Army.


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