While operating on a small US Navy frigate in a mid-east location, we received orders that we would be receiving a flight of US Army Special Forces
helicopters for a period of a few months. These units were specially configured OH-6 Loach's, equipped with Zuni rockets, mini-guns, and special NV
equipment. The aircraft were all painted flat black, had no marking, ran with no running lights, and were nearly impossible to see at night, even in
close quarters. We would be receiving 3 aircraft, and pack them in tightly in our port helo hanger.
Well, the ship goes to "flight quarters", and the fire fighting team, air team, and everyone else assembles in the port hanger. The LSO is in the
shack, waiting for the call from CiC that the birds are inbound. The birds announce they are on their way, then go radio silence.
CiC can't see anything on radar, cause the birds flight so low they get lost in the sea clutter. Lookouts cant see or hear shyte; at sea in the
night it surprisingly dark and noisy. Captain is having a fit cause the birds won't answer calls after they indicate they are inbound. 5 minutes
goes by. 10 minutes. 15 minutes. Where the hell are these guys?
Meantime the entire F/F crew and flight team are sitting on their duffs in the port hanger, drinking cokes and chewing the fat. All of a sudden, the
door to the flight deck opens, and these long-haired dudes in green camo come strolling in with their sea-bags slung over their shoulders. As
everyone stares in disbelief at these new strangers (mind you, we are 30 nm to sea from the nearest land mass, at night, in the Indian Ocean) give
everyone a smile and say "Don't forget to check the oil and wash the windows, boys".
The 3 Loaches had made a stealth approach to the ship, circled it 3 times at less than 100 meters, and then landed, unassisted and at night, on a
pitching flight deck barely big enough to accomodate their airframes. The LSO in the shack above the flight deck never even saw them until they were
getting out of their A/C. He claimed he was distracted while reading a training manual..........
The Captain went bonkers and demanded that they all get written up. These dudes, who were wearing the ranks of Army Captains and Majors, just laughted
at him and said "Do you realize who we are working for?" After a few calls to AB on VHF, the Old Man calmed down (but still wouldn't trust these
guys as far as he could throw them....)
Few the next few month we had our own private little air force on that ship (including our own SH-60B Seahawk), and we had to keep a short lease on
these guys, because they had a tendency to ignore SOP and the ROE.
Some day I'll write up the story of how they buzzed the Russian Sovremenny-class destroyer at night and took some awesome 2-color IR video of the
poor dudes pissing their pants went they realized that strange noise they were hearing (muffled rotors) and weird green lights they were seeing
(instrumentation panel lights) were 3 US helicopters hovering 25 meters off their bridge wing.