By lex, on November 7th, 2011
Which the Yankee Air Pirates were coming for to bomb summat of critical importance to our anti-capitalist People’s Paradaisical Republic of Trashcanistan. Which I wasn’t in on what, exactly, nor the preparation neither. For I am a simple goober bandit pilot and such like is beyond my need to know. Or, frankly, need to participate in. The preparation on the blue side for a large force airwing strike being something that’d turn your hair gray, if it wasn’t there already.
We got briefed in by the bandit lead, and your host was required to cite the out-of-control recovery procedures for the mighty F21C2 Kfir. Which, fortunately for his pride and honor, he’d recently reacquainted himself, the odds of him losing control of the aircraft in engaged maneuvering being sharply reduced by the fact that he doesn’t do all that much engaged maneuvering anymore. That sort of thing being reserved for those directly on the government dime, and no country for old men, selah.
We were the deck launched intercept from the airfield, with all those other bandits and fighters already airborne, if you like. Something of a reserve force. The thin red line. All that stood between our noble, sun-browned peasants and our sturdy, sweat-browed workers on the one part and the chains of free market choices leading to onerous college debt on the other. Or maybe it had something to do with religion. As I said, I can’t know: Wasn’t invited to that part of the brief.
We taxied to the hold short in formation, and sat awaiting our moment. Pushed out to our combat air patrol station at low altitude, mightily enjoying not merely the joy of low altitude flight in a high speed fighter, but the splendid view that’s in it.
The time having come, we burned the deck and went for the blue, dodging clouds along the way. Down to the south our F-16 comrades made graceful contrails on their own CAPs, their time to face the evil crows of empire not yet having arrived.
There had been a bit of a donnybrook prior to our arrival though, for the blue force was that split up. We eventually arrived at a sequential series of merges with a pair of FA-18 two-ships, first the one, then t’other. My lead was called dead at that merge, and – having yo-yo’d out of plane high – I was prepared to maybe make the imperialist war pigs suffer, for it appeared that I had not been observed. But, no: Dad came on the radio and desired and required that I spit out of that fight for to target a striker four-ship not eight miles distant.
Alas! They were all too ready for me, for I hadn’t even hit the merge, so far as I was aware, when Dad told me that I was dead, malgre the physical sensations tending to deceive me otherwise. I cleared the fight to the north, then east, and then back home again.
The fight having passed me by, and my participation in having been completed, I took it upon myself to haul down my colors to match my altitude, clearing first the Desatoyas, and then the Clan Alpines. (I have come to the reluctant conclusion that, if I am to use an iPhone to replay these my meager exploits, I will have to stay with the portrait view. Or maybe get a helmet cam, for it’s no sma’ nor inconsequential thing to do a ridge-line crossing down there in the weeds while peering through a phone’s viewfinder.)
So, anyway, there I was below the swirl and bustle of it all. Cruising around down in the weeds at maybe 500 feet. Passing one and then another snow-dusted mountain range. Pinching myself to ensure that I had not fallen asleep in some godforsaken meeting, nor dribbling spittle down my Brooks Brother’s shirt.
Joined up with my lead, and came back to the carrier break. Landed uneventfully, taxied home, shut her down. Spent all of ten minutes – maybe twelve – passing along my observations to the bandit lead for his debrief. That wouldn’t start for an hour yet, and would last at least an hour, maybe two depending on the breaks. By which time I was already back in my little cell.
Thinking to myself, “I’ve got the best job ever.”