Tag "Helicopter"

(A totally different helicopter flight, where I was allowed to take pictures)

Having tried and failed twice to catch my scheduled flight from Marjeh to Leatherneck—once on account of the flight leaving an hour and half early, a sneaky kind of deception I have never before encountered in air travel, and the second time owing to the flight not existing, or rather existing but twenty-four hours further on in the time-space continuum—I found myself whittling away a couple hours yesterday beside the LZ, hoping that the third time would, for fuck’s sake, be the charm. It was hot and blaringly sunny which is less a description of the weather than the geography of Afghanistan, and I had with me two older gentlemen contractors for company and my two-pound slab of Hunter S. Thompson.

Stories in warzones have a way of dropping onto you out of nowhere. The sensation is a bit like going deer-hunting only to have an eight-point buck leap onto your back and start waving a ten-gallon round its antlers. So it was with a mixture of surprise and vindicated suspicions that I watched the detainees arrive with their escort and join our waiting party.

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Staff Sergeant Miller drops me off at the terminal at four forty-five. I’ve just woken up from a jetlag-induced afternoon sleep and still feel groggy, my eyeballs par-boiled. The tent is large and cylindrical and the dozen people there seem half-comatose themselves. I collapse onto a seat and try to read some of the great gonzoist but can’t keep my eyes open. I don’t know enough about the 1972 election cycle to follow what he’s saying anyways.

An hour and a half later they call us up and we slug into our flak jackets and helmets and stumble in a line through the door. There are no other civilians on this flight, a first for me. Usually at least a contractor or two, which pretty much everyone takes me for most of the time. It is already full dark.

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