Re: OT - details of Bin Laden raid; Nevada connection

Message posted by Steve Douglass on August 04, 2011 at 6:03:19 PST:

A few weeks ago an unusual Chinook variant spent the night in Amarillo. I was alerted by a friend who works out atthe airport and went to check it out. I was surprised to see it was a MH-47G flown by the 160th SOAR. I took a few photos of it and inquired at the FBO when it was going to leave. They said early the next morning.

I went out the next AM and decided to have breakfast at the eatery next to the FBO. No sooner had I sat down when the pilot came in.

I discovered they were doing some minor maintenance on the helicopter and it would be an hour or so before it would leave. I then (as I often do) took the opportunity to chat with the pilot by first thanking him for his service to our country and offered to buy his breakfast which he accepted.

Over breakfast we chatted about his helicopter. He said he was ferrying it to (his words) a "training base in Nevada."

It had just been refurbished and was overdue and should have been at the "remote site" a day ago.

Since he was in a talkative mood I pressed him further about the helicopter. He told me it was a MH-47G flown by the 160th SOAR had been previously in Afghanistan and was a special Chinook that could fly higher and longer than regular Chinooks - with state of the art avionics -glass cockpit - and conformal tanks for extra fuel capacity.

I summoned up my courage and non-chalantly said "Is it like the special one's used in support of the bin Laden raid?"

Now I don't know if he was telling tall tales to impress me - but what he said next floored me.

He leaned forward and said - "It not only took part in the raid but was the one that flew bin Laden's body out of Abottabad." He added, "inside they've painted a white line around where is body was on the deck and the aircraft now has a nickname - "The Fishfood Express"

I asked him if I could take a peak inside and he said "No- there's classified gear in there." I pressed my luck once more and asked him if he had ever seen one of those stealth Blackhawks - and he said he couldn't say anything more. I sensed he had thought he had said too much as it was.

I was allowed to go put and take some more photos of the chopper from inside the fence and was instructed not to go past a certain distance. The sun came up and I took a few shots of it on the tarmac but couldn't stay long as I had to get to work.

Some friends of mine watched it depart about two hours later and said it was surprisingly quiet for a Chinook.

I've posted a photo of the helicopter at the link and here:

-Steve Douglass

Attached link: MH-47G

In Reply to: OT - details of Bin Laden raid; Nevada connection posted by Chris McDowell on August 01, 2011 at 14:11:44 PST:


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