Enduring lessons from SE Asia

Many years ago I spent some time in South East Asia.  I learned some things that are a given.
I have a massive list compiled by many different folks who spent time in these "War Games" and thought I would share one a day with the readers who come here.These are from the perspective of Helicopter Crewmen so you understand the context. I will let the list built up as I place them here. Credit goes to J.C. Pennington, Bob Blum, Lee Westbrook, Ron Timberlake, Darryl James and Bobby McBride for putting all this in one place.     

    • A grunt is the true reason for the existence of the helicopter.

  •  Once you are in the fight it is way too late to wonder if this is a good idea
  • The madness of war can extract a heavy toll. Please have exact change
  •  If everything is as clear as a bell and everything is going exactly as planned, you’re about to be surprised
  • Decisions made by someone over your head will seldom be in your best interest."
  • Gravity: It may not be fair, but it is the law"
  • The BSR (Bang Stare Red) Theory states that the louder the sudden bang in the helicopter, the quicker your eyes will be drawn to the gauges. The longer you stare at the gauges, the less time it takes them to move from green to red.
  • The farther away you are from your friends, the less likely it is that they can help you when you really need them the most

  • No matter what you do, the bullet with your name on it will get you. So too can the ones addressed To Whom It May Concern.

    • Cover your buddy, so he can be around to cover for you.
     Letters from home are not always great.

     There is always payback.
     Chicken plates are not something you order in a restaurant.
     If everything is as clear as a bell and everything is going exactly as        planned, you’re about to be surprised.

     Gravity: It may not be fair, but it is the law.
     If the rear echelon troops are really happy, the front line troops probably do not have what they need.
    • If you are wearing body armor, they probably will miss that part.
     It hurts less to die with a uniform on, than to die in a hospital bed.
     Happiness is a belt-fed weapon.
     If something is not broken on your helicopter, it’s about to be.
    • Eat when you can. Sleep when you can. The next opportunity may not come around for a long time. If ever.
    • Combat pay is a flawed concept.
     Having all your body parts intact and functioning at the end of the day beats the alternative.

     Air superiority is NOT a luxury.
    • If you are allergic to lead, it is best to avoid a war zone.
     It is a bad thing to run out of airspeed, altitude and ideas all at the same time.
     While the rest of the crew may be in the same predicament, it’s usually the pilot’s job to arrive at the crash site first.
     When you shoot your gun, clean it the first chance you get.
     Loud, sudden noises in a helicopter WILL get your undivided attention.