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  1. We've been hitting the whole 10 year ADSO should you join thing pretty hard lately, and while there's some value in that, it's not relevant to those of you who have already started down this path. I enjoy writing and talking about myself so I'll share some stories about the days when you do fly. Maybe that will help your motivation, or maybe not. If you have stories of your own feel free to add them in. I'll start off with one of my favorite missions during my career, which was the multi-purpose range complex in Korea. We spent 9 months on a rotation in Korea as our last hurrah before the unit was reflagged as an Apache unit. Most of our time was spent at "home" near the flag pole but every so often we'd head up for a couple weeks at the range to support whatever ground unit was also training there. I always had a blast. The week would start off with a reposition up there, which was about a forty minute flight if I recall correctly. We'd pack up the trucks who would convoy up with our equipment, then we'd head over to the flight line and get the birds ready to go. Simple cross country flight up with 6 or so birds in formation, and we'd refuel them up at the range and land them in the parking lot. Grab our gear and head to the command post designated for us to drop our stuff off. Sleeping in open bays, our duffel bags and stuff was usually dumped randomly on bunks so you'd have to go find your sh*t then try and finagle the bunk you really wanted. Anyways, the missions up there were live fire so we'd rehearse with the tank unit (or whoever we were supporting) and figure out timelines and all that. Build our paperwork and get ready for the next day's missions. That soaked up most of our initial days at the range. Lots of dead time in between so there was all sorts of tom foolery, throwing rocks, movies, dipping, walking around, working out, etc. Whatever shift you were on determined when you woke up, and we generally did stuff as a team. We'd meet up and head to get some food, then grab our stuff and go to the main command post to receive our briefing for the mission. Then it was preflight time, get our stuff situated in the aircraft, and we'd head back to our own little hut and sit down as a team and discuss our plan. After that we might wait around for a bit, or head to the birds. Get in, run them up, check our radios and equipment, and take off. A quick little circle back to the arming and refuel point to load up on bullets and rockets. Because weight and balance and performance planning was our own responsibility we had a lot of flexibility in how much fuel/ammo we wanted. It was quicker for one of us to get out and help load rockets so we usually did. Once we were loaded we'd take off and link up in the air. Climb up, circle in our holding area and try to get a hold of the ground unit. The left seat pilot in the lead aircraft always talked to the unit we were working for, and they drove the mission. Once we'd get in contact we'd wait for their signal for us to come in and shoot for them. Once we had the word we'd do a quick communication about our tactics and then bomb in on the target. We always had a simulated threat to contend against and that would shape how you flew. Generally it was low and fast, weaving and bobbing through the trees and valley, down the hill, and then a quick climb up to start shooting. The OH-58 did not have flexible weapons, so you had a grease mark on the windshield to aim and shooting was a WW2 style strafing run. You'd shoot, break turn out of the way as your trail aircraft started shooting. Then they'd break off and we'd bob and weave our way around for another attack. Repeat until we needed to get more fuel and ammo. Head back to the FARP, load up, and take back off. This went on for hours and sometimes we'd have lots of time waiting for the ground unit to get set/reset. Missions could be up to 8 hours of flying. By the time we were done and the birds were spinning down it was complete exhaustion. Grab some food, collapse into a camp chair, and watch a movie on the laptop. All the fun of a deployment without anyone shooting back. I really, really miss those days. Here's some random Korea pictures:
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