Thursday, 7 June 2012

7 June 1982, Sper - lash!

Log Book entry: Airdrop and Vertrep:  2.30 day 1.00 night

And now for something completely different.  We were tasked to go and collect some nice Special Forces guys  and their equipment after they had all jumped out of a Hercules into the Atlantic - rather them than me.  We stayed manned up, on deck while the drop happened in case we were needed for an actual rescue.  Thereafter we were to help retrieve the equipment loads.
It didn't go that well.  We heard the Hercules pilot on the radio first.  He clearly didn't want to be there. Can't say I blame him - he was a very long way from home and clearly didn't want to have to join his passengers in the sea.  They chucked the equipment loads out first and at least two of the loads immediately lost their parachutes and narrowly missed hitting the ship.  Now that would have been story to tell - being hit by a thousand pounder! (crate). Then the chaps jumped out and luckily all their parachutes stayed on.  We then had to help recover what was in the water.  The ships sea boat went out and we managed to hook one load but on return to the ship had enormous trouble getting it onto the deck, not the least because we were using a longer lifting strop than normal to keep the aircraft reasonable away from the sea boat as they hooked on.  By the time night fell there were still loads floating about - we would try to find them when it got light.
The SF guys were really weird; self assuming, polite and clearly not that whelmed about being cooped up in a 'floating coffin' as they so rudely described my home.  Mind you I wasn't going to pick a fight with any of them. Iv'e no idea what their job ashore was to be and it all became a bit academic. Time was running out.

12 crates, of which two plummeted rather than floated serenely down.

And then the chaps.   HMS Glamorgan is astern providing support.

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