Sunday, January 15, 2012

Flying in Style

Last week, I flew south from Kabul to Camp Leatherneck in the Helmand Province. As the liaison officer to a civilian federal agency, I was fortunate to fly aboard a government owned Beechcraft King Air twin turbo-prop.  It was certainly luxurious compared to the standard C-130 transport commonly used in theater.  When fully loaded with pallets of gear and equipment, troop space aboard the C-130 is usually limited and one often ends up facing another Marine or soldier in a cramped, parallel series of troops seats, your knees interlaced between the knees of the guy in front of you.  Sometimes the C-130 flights are empty and one can stretch out along the canvas troop seats lining the sides of the fuselage. Conversely, the massive C-17's are much more spacious than the relatively compact C-130's and have removable rows of seats like those found in a commercial airliner. The seats can be added or removed depending upon the load. In addition to troops, the C-17's and the even larger C-5 routinely haul large quantities of equipment across the theater.

While the King Air may only seat 8 passengers, its twin turbo props permit the bird to fly at nearly the same speed of the C-130 Hercules.  During this particular flight, just myself and 2 DoD analysts were headed to Camp Leatherneck.  Needless to say, it is a comfortable ride that is usually reserved for VIP's and distinguished visitors; 95% of the troops in theater will only fly aboard the larger strategic aircraft and won't have the opportuntity to enjoy this incredible perk!

From the air, I observed the ridge line that lies along the northern edge of our compound, the same ridge line I've climbed several times since my arrival. The recent blast of precipitation over the last 2 days has since hidden the treacherous peaks under a soft blanket of snow, belying the dangers hidden within the Hindu Kush.   


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Samantha West said...

Glad to see you're blogging again Craig.

Manoj Kusshwaha said...

happy to see you but its a long time you stop blogging come on man we are

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