Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Time Warp

A long time ago, I used to study playing cards with images like this on one side. Saddam Hussein was in Kuwait, and we would be there soon; with the "third largest army in the world", it was sure to be a long, bloody conflict. Some thirteen years later, I was studying them again, for virtually the same reasons, although this time the conflict would supposedly be brief. So much for predictions. Twenty years after first sorting out the differences between NATO and Warsaw Pact aircraft, I now literally step out my door and watch this on a daily basis:

It's both amusing and disturbing at the same time. I'm surrounded by Soviet-era designs and former Warsaw Pact military personnel, something I never would have expected when I was growing up. For me, it's still novel to interact with all this, having grown up under Ronald Reagan. Yet it's distubing, in reminding me how much the world has changed in such a short time. Many of the young soldiers I work with now were born when the old political order was ending. A helicopter is a helicopter. Bulgarian, Georgian, Turkish, Mongolian and Afghan soldiers everywhere you are? Just another day on deployment.

Then again, their time will also come, when all seems unaccountably changed.

In the meantime, I'm hoping to see again what I caught a brief glimpse of (what a day to not have my camera with me) passing overhead last week:

A Hind heading out towards the mountains around Kabul. And if I have the good fortune to catch one landing at the field less than a quarter-mile away, some aircrew is going to be pestered by a middle-aged American with a camera until they give in.


Papa Whiskey said...

I once saw a film clip of one of these being hit by a Stinger. The entire cockpit turned into a fireball and the thing just kept limping along in the air for a while, as though it were Wile E. Coyote over a canyon. Didn't look too pleasant for the pilot.

MauserMedic said...

Papa Whiskey,

The Hips seem to be the workhorse helicopter around here. I'd bet they're rugged as hell, but given the nationalities flying them over here, I'd be reluctant to get in one that's actually flying somewhere.