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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 02:04   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: UK
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Special Memories

In the spirt of the season I was wondering - what are your absolute favourite memories from your time in military aviation? What made it so special? The jets? The mission? The noise? The burning avcat?

Despite being a WAFU I think mine probably begin in my first experiences of the North Sea ACMI, watching the light dim over either Coningsby or Waddo, feeling the air cool as you did the walk round, passing the Lincolnshire coast outbound, seeing the lights on the rigs in the North Sea, checking in with Freddy or one of the GCI chaps - and feeling the blood pressure go up as they called out the first picture as the other guys came out of Leeuwarden, Leeming and Leuchars - all with a bit of mischief up their sleeve.

Getting home to state of the art debrief - finding out that your SA was..errrr...incomplete...and then heading off to see if the Lincoln run ashore had changed significantly in the last twelve months.

I have fond memories of being sat on the back of a war canoe with all the cockpits crunched together, salt in the nostrils - watching the ship heel with a certain amount of trepidation. Wondering what everyone else was punching into the up front controller, suspecting that the ops room was listening into the aux frequency, hoping the f##king kit would align at some point and that Havequick would weave its magic.

And of course the thrill of watching the Afghan dawn in the winter months knowing that 'You are in support of TIC....etc' was only a matter of minutes away.

Anyone else care to share theirs?
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 03:41   #2 (permalink)
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Breakfast in the Mess after a night shift on ORP/QRA. A bunch of bleary-eyed, unshaven, scruffy louts being served the most ginormous breakfast by the guys behind the servery, who had gone to enormous lengths to provide the best they could. When the Station was in lock down, lineys were treated with admiration and respect. Even the SWO would look the other way when we were returning to our block.

There was sense of pride that all of our aircraft had been ready to launch if called upon. The ultimate accolade came from an old Chiefy, stating that we were of the same calibre as the guys who kept the Spits, Hurricanes and Lancasters flying during WWII. The Cold War was for real.
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 05:50   #3 (permalink)
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Lots of them. Night time cable engagements, spectacular to watch and a real sense of job satisfaction. Setting up Kingsfield Airstrip when a kind Major discovered we hadn't eaten for hours whistled up a bag of egg banjos, they really did taste good! Recently sitting out on the runway in the middle of a night time Barrier net change eating chicken and chips and even this morning, popping out of my office for a smoke and watching F15s and Typhoons taking off into the clear blue sky.
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 06:39   #4 (permalink)
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Of all the memories this one srings straight to mind:

IX(B) at Bruggen in the late '90s.

Real live this what Bruggen was here for stuff; long range sorties over the Former Yugoslavia.

First crews back in Rects Control after landing, first question - "is everybody back safely"

"yup" says the Boss (Baggers) - the masshosive sense of relief at that moment that enveloped the whole room made everything worthwhile.
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 06:59   #5 (permalink)

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'For your climb to FL320, Manchester Control would like your outbound heading'

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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 07:29   #6 (permalink)
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Sat in the borrowed crewroom at Muharraq International Airport on 27 Aug 1990 with the rest of the combined Bruggen/Marham wing after deploying the day before. DetCO (Rocky Goodall) walks in and gives us a decent speech about why we were there etc.

This was the (end of) the Cold War which had been our raison d'etre for so many years, driving all our extensive training and yet here we are in the Middle East. wtf???

Spent the next 3 months with no min height limit!

Then Afghanistan. Mostly flew the night shift and saw some beautiful sights, especially when the moon was out and reflected off the snow-capped peaks. Then having to fly a low-level search for a downed helo, bouncing between VMC & IMC and the jet just coped so well and it felt really.....not easy but comfortable as this was what she was designed to do. Oh, and the low-level was on a 15000ft high plain with surrounding mountain peaks over 20000ft! edit: Oh, and the FAC was 100+miles away so no comms with anyone!

Many, many others.

Good thread.

Last edited by just another jocky; 22nd Dec 2012 at 07:31.
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 08:52   #7 (permalink)
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The first Victor / Vulcan Blackbuck launch from Ascension, awesome. The noise, the dust and the lights. Some of the dust is still hanging about every time I think about it.

It made 12 years of Micks and Mickey Finns seem worth it.
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 09:55   #8 (permalink)
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Being cheered by all of the det groundcrew after safely coming back from the first night of the first Gulf War.

The summer happy hours at Bruggen when all the sqns were at home: madness!

Later, rescuing 23 UNMOs in Sierra Leone (including the Brit that we were there for) after flying in the worst possible weather to get there.
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 10:41   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by The Oberon:7590840
The first Victor / Vulcan Blackbuck launch from Ascension, awesome. The noise, the dust and the lights. Some of the dust is still hanging about every time I think about it.

It made 12 years of Micks and Mickey Finns seem worth it.
As groundcrew it was the Vulcan landing after the first raid knowing that all I had been taught had been put into practice.

And for the take offs what a noise that was.unable to forget that in a hurry.

Last edited by ZH875; 23rd Dec 2012 at 10:19.
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 12:17   #10 (permalink)
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Listening to the elation in the JTAC's voice as the weapon hits the target, and the incoming fire from the individuals under the cross hair ceases. To me, it means that all that training beforehand worked and the guys on the ground get to go home to their families.
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 12:38   #11 (permalink)
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(METAR: 27, Calm, Red, QFE XYZ)

"On centreline, on centreline, over radar touchdown - NOW. Radar service terminated."

"Thanks Talkdown, diversion wasn't an option - buy you a beer for that"


"Ratch 25, London Mil, good evening. Identified, Radar Control flight level 250."

"London Mil, Ratch 25, you have no idea how good that sounds...."

It felt good when The Voices said 'thanks'.......
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 13:38   #12 (permalink)
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Walking back in from first E3D orbit over Albania and being told "no complaints about tanking tonight"
CQWI, from SHAR mate,"that was the best call I ever heard from a controller" just after the single Shar and 2xF3 had just shot the whole CQWI Blue force.
Last ever sortie controlled from Bunker. 25 Sqn in the bar and debrief on phone. "Mate that was exactly what we wanted can you control us tomorrow, you knew exactly what we wanted and made it happen."
What I thought was last trip on E3D recovering from LGPZ, seat 5 and going cloud surfing as we crossed FIR and started recovery to EGXW. Went back 2 years later as ERS WC.
The all day post trip beer in Pordenone after a particular busy trip in 99.
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 16:18   #13 (permalink)

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All the very good people who supported me during/after my (quite undeserved) GCM.

guilty as charged...
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 16:42   #14 (permalink)
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Watching the guys arriving back at Odious off the Conveyor and the outbreak of emotion from the families present, when they finally realised their loved ones were all back home and safe..... And realising in other parts of the Country the news would not be so good.
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 16:51   #15 (permalink)

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Standing on the deck of Intrepid at 2359 on 30th November 1967 and watching the fireworks of newly-independent South Yemen (Aden). Realising that none of us had to go back. All RAF rotary present and correct.

Last edited by Herod; 22nd Dec 2012 at 16:52.
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 17:00   #16 (permalink)
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Famine relief operations in Ethiopia 1985...

Feeling as though you were actually making a difference for once, and some good flying to be had as well!
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 17:29   #17 (permalink)
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Like Biggus - Op Bushell as first time I felt I was making a difference.

Second memory was Ancona, April 1994, watching the Det armourer windsurfing using a palletiser truck and home made sail surfing in the prop wash of the reversing Herc. Crew were laughing so much they had to stop and return to the bay for him to have a second go.
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 18:10   #18 (permalink)
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Sitting in the jump seat of an E3 over the Alps one sunrise on my way to Aviano. Probably the most beautiful sight I'd ever seen up to then. One of those tiny speck in a ruthless universe moments.
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 20:38   #19 (permalink)
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Smashing thread orca and also Guys/Galls doing the business then and now

Last edited by glad rag; 22nd Dec 2012 at 20:39.
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Old 23rd Dec 2012, 00:23   #20 (permalink)
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Watching Trap Ones E3's and tankers and others from underneath the orbits, when as one they pushed north and turned off the lights. Suddenly, my small bit in this whole show made sense. Still makes the hairs on my neck stand up.
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