22 November 2005

Gunfighter Diary Desert Shield 16 Nov 90

16 NOV 90

160438, 5T2, 5.7, 450, Bean

Got up at 0430, briefed at 0500 with Injun, Jughead and Bean to carry some pax out to the USS Wisconsin. Flew 140 miles to pick up the pax and get to the battleship. After initial confusion (ops normal at a boat) we landed to drop our guys off. First landing on a battleship, and never thought this is where it would happen. We couldn't shut down and stay because they were going to be shooting, which probably would have rattled the Huey into a little pile of spare parts. They coordinated putting us on the USS Guam and Nassau to wait for 3 hours. We went to the Nassua and I got the landing there too. It felt good to be talking "boat talk" again. Figure the ships thought they were going to get some landlubbers, they got me and Injun instead. I got to sign for the aircraft today too, with Bean as copilot. Made a real smooth landing in front of a turning 46, with about a 20 knot headwind. You could hear the surprise (and relief) in their voices over the radio when it became obvious we knew how to come aboard. We shut down and walked into flight deck control. Raised a few eyebrows when they saw us taking magazines out of our pistols. The guys in flight deck control looked at us funny for a few seconds, finally saw our patches and said "you're not CIA?" Guess they had no idea who we were, and we show up in a tan and grey Huey with no markings. Good rumor. We'll have to strip off the patches too next time.
Dropped off gear in locker room and went to find the wardroom. Got a quick bite. Wardroom was pretty full and someone yelled, "phone call for Capt Lewis, HMLA-369." So I went cruising over, pistol and all, to find out they wanted us to launch early. No one else was carrying pistols on the ship, so they must have been curious why we were there. I knew the ACE XO, he was the Senior Marine at HT-8. Talked to him real quick, then had to hop in and fly off. Bean landed next time on the Wisconsin, and we flew back to JNA. Not many guys get to land on a battleship. And now I've landed on 4 of 5 LHAs; Belleau Wood, Nassau, Tarawa. Peleliu. I need to find the Saipan somewhere. Maybe they'll bring the Wasp out here for me to land on, too.
Had a fun day, got back to camp, wrote some letters. And all of my laundry came back. Oh, guys on boats have been out 90 days, no phone calls!

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