Rockets Over The Tigris
Seen here is the left outboard pylon with a rocket pod full of rockets.
The AH-64D Apache Longbow has four wing pylons. Each pylon is capable of carrying either a rocket pod, a hellfire launcher,
or an auxiliary fuel tank. Each rocket pod (as seen here) is capable of holding 19 rockets (2.75 inches in diameter
by about 6 feet long). So if you put rocket pods on all four pylons, you could carry 76 rockets. Or you could
put 4 hellfire missiles on each hellfire launcher for a total of 16 hellfires if you wanted to go "hellfire heavy".
Or you could carry 1 auxiliary fuel tank (holds 250 gallons of fuel which equates to an additional hour of flight time) on
each pylon for a total of 4 auxiliary fuel tanks. Or you could mix and match loads on all of the pylons. Our standard
load over here is two rocket pods and two hellfire launchers. 9/14/03
September 11 will always be a day to pay tribute to the heroes who died
in the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks and in a rural Pennsylvania field. It is also a day to celebrate the
renewal of life and hope for the future. Lori and I are truly honored to have had our daughter Karilyn born on September
Because of the dual meaning for the date, I approached my brigade commander
(Colonel Moody) a few weeks ago and asked him if he would allow me to fly an American flag in honor of my daughter's birthday
which happened to be on September 11th. A little background information: even when we were down in Kuwait
(beginning of April), flying American flags, or any flag for that matter, became strictly prohibited. We the coalition
forces were not a conquering force, but a liberating force. Hence, flag flying was NOT AUTHORIZED.
Back to the story. COL Moody looked at me with the gears turning in
his mind and said, "Now John, you know I cannot authorize you to do that. I asked the old man [our commanding general,
Major General Raymond T. Odierno whom you have probably seen on T.V.] if I could paint a huge American flag on one of these
hangars and he told me absolutely not because you know that flying an American flag is unauthorized." COL Moody
knew I was pretty bummed from the look on my face, but things brightened as he continued. "Tell you what," he said.
"I will not tell you yes, but I will not tell you no. That day, I will just stay in my tactical operations center and
not come down to yours." I told him thank you very much sir and that I would fly the flag as discreetly as possible.
So in an attempt to be as discreet as I could in honoring my daughter on
her first birthday which happens to also be a day to remember fallen heroes, I found the tallest antenna we had and placed
the American flag as high up on it as I possibly could........ 9/15/03
I know most of you have probably seen this one, but there are some who have
not. This was taken on May 24, 2003 the morning of my change of command. For nineteen months, I was the company
commander of C Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment. It was the best job I have ever had in the Army, hands
down. I could not have been in a better position to deploy to a foreign theater and lead troops in battle. Definitely
a life defining event! 9/16/03
This is another photo taken by a "professional" photographer. He was
imbedded in another Brigade when the Apaches came to support that ground unit's mission.
We have flown nearly 6,000 flight hours over five and a half months since
we arrived in theater back in April. In comparison, when we are stateside, each fiscal year we are authorized only 4,200
flight hours and that is over 12 months! Our operational tempo is fast and furious. The common comment made by
ground force commanders though is, "When the Apaches show up, the bad guys stop doing bad things and either give up or run."
Either way, the bad guys are usually caught while we provide a "blanket of calmness". 9/17/03
This photo was taken on our way from Kuwait to Baghdad. It is a good
depiction of the average Iraqi citizen that lives outside of a city. They rely on wells for water generally have power.
Tough living! 9/18/03
Forward Operating Base (FOB since everything in the Army has an acronymn)
Speicher, Iraq. Most of the time it is clear blue and 22, but not on this day. The dust and blowing sand has been
much worse than this, but this picture is a good depiction of what it can be like around here. It absolutely sucks to
have everything you own covered in fine talcum powder type sand! You name it, it gets dust on it or in it.
I previously sent a picture of my humble abode, so I figured I would send
a few pictures of other everyday items most people take for granted. This particular photo is of our shower. It
has two stalls and the water is gravity fed from the large water tank acquired from the old housing section on the airbase.
When we first arrived, showers were few and far between until we got settled and started building. The high temperatures
this summer made the water almost too hot. Now with the cooler temperatures, you get cold while taking a shower because
of the wind. In efforts to conserve water, everyone is limited to a 5 - 7 minute shower and must turn off the water
between latherings. 9/20/03
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