Archive Logo.jpg

January 05, 2005

This is no sh*t!**

Bill the Rotorhead, frequent commenter that he is (he's gonna graduate to guest-poster if he keeps providing gems like this) told a story in a comment to this post that is just too good to leave in the basement like that!

One of the first UH-1Ms (oh, go ahead, google it--I have no idea what you're gonna get, but it's a UH-1C gunship with a UH-1H engine) in the Delta dropped by our refuel/rearm point in Can Tho for a bit of last-light go-juice. The AC hopped out for some kidney relief while the crew chief and gunner pumped the fuel, leaving a--gasp!--newbie lieutenant on the controls (yes, the aircraft was running--us Huey drivers never did "cold" fuel). The crew chief mashed his mike button and asked Peter Pilot to check the fuel gauge to see how much fuel they'd pumped, and PP promptly pressed the trigger switch to reply.

Now, in the UH-1D or H, the trigger switch controls commo--first detent activates intercom, second detent keys the radio(s). In the UH-1M (it's a gunship--remember?), the trigger switch is--a trigger. Who sees what's coming next?

Yup. One 2.75-inch Mk 40 rocket with 10-pound warhead promptly departed each launcher. The rocket from the right launcher speared a revetment before the fuze armed and just sat there smoking; the rocket from the left one zipped down the runway, missed the hood of a fuel truck returning from the 'Hook hangars by a good six inches, went past my right ear and smacked into our ammo dump.

The fuze functioned properly.

We had a BIG ammo dump.

I wound up in a drainage ditch with the fuel truck crew on top of me (they had farther to run). I didn't complain about their lack of military courtesy (neither one saluted before he landed), because the rain of debris bounced off them instead of me.

When the smoke cleared, the Mike-model crew remembered a pressing social event and departed post-haste, the fuel handlers wobbled off to recover their truck (which was still sitting in the center of the runway) and I did a quick weather check--I discerned a severe drunk-front heading in my direction, so I strode off to meet it head-on... =]

**Milspeak for "Official Notification That I Am About To Tell A War Story"