I am sure that most, if not all of you, have seen the attention that operation swarmer is getting in the media. The term swarm implies a lot of activity and, in that regard it accurately reflects my role in the operation. In other words, I have been flying my butt off.
I was scheduled to do my two week rotation in the planning cell during this time. That planning job is night shift work and involves preparing all of the maps and gps data for the next day's flights. When swarmer came up, however, planning moved a lot higher than me and I got back involved in flying. I have been flying, under night vision goggles, three of the last four nights. My crew has been doing everything from transporting prisoners, to dropping off troops to conduct raids, to picking up cameras and film for use by the media, to flying reconnosance along various roads. I know this sounds exciting but it is not really. It is routine flying. Routine flying, however, makes for good experience and I have been happy to get it. I now have about 200 hours of combat flight time, almost half of which is google flight. That is less than average for our company but pretty good for a new pilot.
I know that a lot of you would like the "inside scoop" on Operation Swarmer to help you make sense of the media hype. Unfortunately I am not in a position to give much additional perspective. Even if I was, I wouldnt really be at liberty to write anything about the operation in this forum. It is very hard for me to see from my vantage point what, if any, long term effect this operation will have on the war in general or Iraq in particular. It seems to me that the media is making it out to be a lot more than it is but I suppose time will tell. All I know for sure is that it is giving me a break from "battlefield circulation" missions and that is a good thing. Read more about Swarmer