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December 17, 2006

Canadian Air Force Deliberately Unloads on US Positions in Afghanistan.

Bill and Dusty could relate to these guys, methinks.

The Hercules twists and turns through the mountain canyon. The gritty mountainsides seem to press in on either side of the wingtips. We run so close to the edges that paths across the hills are clearly visible to the naked eye. A Taliban fighter with a strong arm could probably hit the Hercules with a stone.

This is an aircraft nearly the size of a Boeing 737 thundering along a narrow pass between soaring peaks. For a passenger, it's like racing in an Air Canada flight between the skyscrapers on Bay Street in downtown Toronto.

Then it's time to retreat back up to the clouds. The captain pulls the plane into an abrupt, steep climb that buckles the knees of anyone standing upright. Arms and legs, even the head, become impossibly heavy.

Moments later, the plane levels off. The flight is once again calm and level. The crew is elated.

The first officer, Captain Victor Mota of Toronto, says this is the kind of intense, demanding flying he could never find working for a commercial airline.

The risks are high, but so are the professional and personal rewards of accomplishing tough missions against formidable odds.

"It's just awesome," he says.

There's a little bit of R.E. Lee in Captain Mota, as indeed there is in most career soldiers. Read the rest of the story here. H/t, CAPT H.

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