I have flown on every major holiday since being deployed. I flew on Thanksgiving, flew and got stuck due to weather on Christmas, and flew today (Easter Sunday and Passover). These flights make for memorable holidays.
Our mission today was to fly a catholic chaplin to several remote bases to lead Easter Mass. The weather started out stormy and we had some concerns about not being able to get the chaplin everywhere he needed to go. The weather, however, cleared and we had beautiful flying.
One of our stops was at FOB McHenry. This is a small base populated mainly by infantry soldiers. For some reason they had cowboy hats for sale at the tiny PX on base. Larry, the Pilot-in-Command of my bird, liked the hats so much that he bought one. As you will see from the photos we had a lot of phone posing with the hat on.
Another stop was at a prison way up North in the Kurdish region of the country. It is used to hold the worst detainees and is manned by American soldiers teaching Iraqis how to run a prison. The area is very remote and very beautiful. We shut down the helicopters while the chaplin went to give mass. This gave us the chance to eat Easter lunch with the soldiers in the prison. We ate in an open air courtyard in the center of the dentention facility. They grilled steaks, hot dogs and hamburgers. There were jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, potato salad, cake, and lemonade. The detainees in their cells probably could see us eating and surely could smell the food but none of us gave that fact very much thought. We thoroughly enjoyed the cool mountain air, talking with new people, and eating freshly grilled food.
The flight back from the prison was a beautiful trek though high mountains and lush green valleys. We saw many Kurds below us enjoying the sunny Sunday afternoon with their families.
I wish you all the very best for the holidays.