Skip to comments."THE REST OF THE STORY" (Blackhawks Down in Mosul)
Posted on 11/24/2003 8:47:08 AM PST by FlyLow
I just got an email from Jeff! He wanted me to copy part of it and send it to everyone. Here it is...
"Me and my crew were on the PM "Eyes over Mosul" mission, we picked out infantry guys up at about 5:45pm, took off around 10 minutes till 6pm. I checked in with the infantry over the radio, told them that I had the Quick Reaction Infantry Soldiers on board and that we would be working the west side of the river over the city. I asked for a situation report, and they told me that not too much had happened that evening. It was almost 6:30pm when they called me on the radio saying that a group of infantry was taking small arms fire and a loud explosion was heard. The passed me a grid coordinate over the radio and gave me a frequency so I could talk to the ground guys directly. The grid they gave me was for a North/South road that ran through the middle of the city. I arrived over the street about a minute later, and we saw that infantry guys running north down the road. There must have been about 12-15 of them, and I picked up a left hand orbit/circle. Initially, I moved north with the infantry guys outside the left of the aircraft. My crewchief had them in sight and said he saw that a dipsty dumpster was smoking and that's where the bomb must have been. I turned left again and started to head south- I had the ground guys in sight, and once I passed them again, I started another left hand turn to head back to the north again. Just when I was about to roll out of the turn, the helicopter exploded, I saw a bright flash of light coming through my NVG's, and the helicopter started to spin out of control. I figured that something had hit our tail rotor, because the aircraft will spin like that if something happens to the tail rotor. I remember saying "Shit" two times, and then the nose of the helicopter dropped almost 90 degrees nose down. I had the cyclic stick all the way against my seat trying to get the nose level again, I did not want to hit with the nose pointing straight down. The aircraft continued to spin, and I don't know how the nose got back right again, but it obviously did, because we landed on our wheels on top of a 3 story building/house. I don't remember hitting or landing, my crewchief pulled me out of my seat, woke my up and got me to my feet. I don't remember any of this either, he said that I walked myself down the three storied of stairs. The first thing I remember was when the ambulance showed up, and I crawled into the back. They brought us all to the hospital, and started to check us out. I had a big gash on the right side of my head just above my ear. I guess they put 6 staples in there, My legs and arms are all bruised up pretty bad, and my back really hurts. They took X-Rays of everything that hurts, but nothing was broken. I have all kinds of medicine that they gave me, most of it is muscle relaxers and anti-nausea pills. My back really hurts bad, and I haven't been able to sleep very well. I got home this afternoon, and don't have to go back to the hospital for another 10 days, when they will take out the staples. I am sure you have heard by now that there was another blackhawk that was involved in the crash also. It was from 4/101st Aviation, and I never saw them at all. My aircraft was at almost 400 feet above the city flying about 60 knots airspeed, some people who were on the ground said they saw him get shot and that he flew right into us? I don't know if that's what happened or not, but I never saw him. If he did hit us, he hit us directly from the rear, and must have hit my tail rotor, which explains why it spun like it did. I guess all 11 people in his aircraft died, and we had 6 in my die, I am having a hard time learning how to deal with this. I don't think I could have done anything different, but it still makes me sick to my stomach. It was a sad day for everyone, including myself. I guess I am grounded right now until they get the staples out of my head and my back starts to feel better. I will heal fine in a little time, I just feel so sad for all the deaths, what a terrible outcome."
After reading this, I would assume his was the aircraft that was the highest, which is different than originally thought. At any rate, the outcome is still the same with troops sacrificing their lives for others!
He said that he will go back to the hospital in 10 days to get the staples out of his head. They are planning both memorials for the soldiers in Mosul on Wednesday and he is going to try to make both, as he knows that is where he needs to be. Here at Campbell there will be a service most likely Thursday or Friday. The big question is whether he will be coming home any time soon. I don't have the answer to this, but will let everyone know as soon as I hear. For Jeff's sake, I am hoping if he does come home, the doorbell doesn't stop ringing...that means an open invitation!
I am doing well and appreciate all the words of encouragement thru this ordeal. I was able to get a good nights sleep last night and plan to take it easy today (as you can tell, I didn't go to work). Thanks for all the phone calls...for those that worried about "bothering" me, don't! It was refreshing to hear from everyone! Please feel free to pass this email along, as I know I don't have everyone listed in my address book.
As always, I will keep you updated as I get any new news. Take care and lots of love! Lauran
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