Thursday, April 19, 2007

RAF Technology

27 Mar 07
I attend the British wing staff meeting almost every day. Both at home station and while deployed the British call the wing meeting “prayers” though no one is certain why…“it’s just always been called that.”

I sit next to Squadron Leader Charlie Allen (RAF major equivalent) at prayers. When we first met he introduced himself as an engineer. I figured out later that they call their aircraft maintenance officers “engineers.” Today we were talking about the different aircraft the two of us have worked. He began his Royal Air Force career in 1989 on the Lancaster, a British airborne early warning aircraft. I immediately thought of Britain’s Lancaster bomber of World War II fame and assumed they must have named a later aircraft in its honor. After prayers we went to his office to look at pictures of Charlie’s aircraft. In the stack was a picture of the Lancaster Charlie had worked and to my astonishment it wasn’t named after the Lancaster bomber—it was the Lancaster bomber! Similar to our B-17 Flying Fortress, the British modified the World War II-era Lancaster for use as an airborne early warning platform finally retiring it in 1992 after they purchased a version of our E-3 AWACS.

Two rockets tonight at 1830. First rockets we’ve had in several days (week?). It’s been relatively quiet since the Al Arbaeen festival when nearly all of Basrah walked to Karbala to the Imam Ali Mosque for a large Shiia religious festival.

We were driving back from MND headquarters. I was driving with my window down. As I made a turn, I heard the rockets explode followed immediately by the “incoming” alarm which sounded three times. The rockets sounded like they were within 100 yards. In accordance with procedure, I immediately stopped the truck, we bailed out and hit the ground. After the 3 minute soak period, we moved to a bunker down the road. I found out later that the rounds landed just inside the wire near Waterloo.

No comments: