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Volume 5, Issue 11

CHPA • The Swash Plate

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to You All

Presenting! • “Welcome Buzz Covington” • “Christmas Gift Ideas” • “A Call to Service” • “Mid-Air Catch” Robert Frost • “CSI-Iraq” Shawn Miller  “Flood Relief in Pakistan”  and much much more!

CHPA’s Corporate Sponsors 

Marpat Aviation

Robertson Aviation

M1 Support Services

AM Air Services

DS2 Defense Support Services

Thank you Sponsors!

December 2010

President’s Message

Hi guys! With Thanksgiving behind us and most of the country cold Hopeexperiencing this finds you all weather (including the first round of spitting snow even here in the well! As usual, we’ve been deep south), ourlots thoughts working hard on of great naturally gravitate toward the religious and cultural celebrations things for our CHPA members. surrounding Christmas, Hanukkah, and other We had Quad-A last month and year-end activities it was a huge success.that We I hope cause us to contemplate the larger currents welcomed many new membersin our lives. Having recently marched in the Veterans Day Parade, I recall a (THANK YOU!) and visited situation that has become standard during those events: some veteran will with lots of current members. step outthere, of the crowd lining the street, approach our band of helicopter While CHPA was pilots, and extend a hand recognized by the Texas of thanks to us for pulling him out of hell. With tear lined Guard eyes setfor in our a serious face, he will say something like, “You guys National saved my life. Thank you.” Such throat-lumping moments occur every contributions and support. year during theto parade, a quiet exchange of massive import between Special thanks Mrs. Christine knowing veterans. Gilbreath who has been Just to lastwork weekend I attended a gathering of motorcycle enthusiasts wonderful with and during which a quiet man thanks to COL MacGregor with and a cane winced in pain as he shifted his weight uncomfortably, then the TX NG for taking the timeoffered his hand to me across the table. “Thanks for pulling my ass to say thanks! On behalf ofout of andvery bad situation,” he said intensely,st even though he served with the 82 Airborne while my hat sported a 1 CHPA, I can say it was a true Cav pin above my wings. I received a similar emotion from a biking honor! buddy in which he e-mailed the appreciation and high esteem he and his grunt buddies us. working We’vefelt alsofor been My point in recounting to finalize the agenda for our all this is simply that as we each approach the celebration chosen year-end religious rituals and surrounding Annual Meetingofinour New lay festivities, I urge you to think more deeply about the generous legacy Orleans. One of my friends, combat helicopter pilots Mrs. Theresa Wright, has and crews have made possible for so many veterans, and continue to to do so today. Think about the parents, wives, generously taken the time husbands, andarticle grand-children that have or will have the assemble anchildren, informative opportunity for a meaningful life thanks to some faceless helicopter pilot on must-see locations and & crew performing a long-forgotten mission during extreme moments of a interesting things to do in New long, hot LTC day or cold night halfway across the globe. Those Orleans. andfreezing Mrs. Wright missions we flew, sometimes boring, perhaps stressful, always dirty, and have generously offered to meet upon us foroccasion a leaders’fueled reconby inadrenaline, were paramount moments of extreme crisis in the lives of so many August, after I get back fromwe never knew, moments forever seared into the minds ofshould those have who even walk the earth today because we did not turn Haiti, so we down the mission in favor more good ideas on thingsoftoour personal safety. season I urge you to think of the many veterans who do. BeDuring sure to this make your hotel are alive to watch their kids and grand-kids, nephews and nieces, parents reservation now! The deadline for getting the CHPA special rate is August 23!

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CHPA • The Swash Plate

and spouses as they celebrate their preferred holidays with personal traditions. Then consider the role combat helicopter pilots and crew members have played and will continue to play in this tableau for as long as helicopters remain the backbone of combat ground operations worldwide. This is our legacy. We have every right to be proud of our contributions, large and small, and to nurture the legacy we earned through hard training, selflessness, separation from loved ones, and blood. This is a large part of what CHPA is all about. Never ever forget. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and good health to you all.

Submit Your Photos! CHPA has a growing collection of photos, from flight school class pictures to action photos to helicopter shots from around the world … If you would like to contribute to the collection please click here to upload!

The Swash!

[Got a story to share?]

We hope you enjoy your newsletter! We work to find articles of interest for our very diverse membership, ranging from human interest to humor and wonderful war stories of helicopter pilots’ and crewmembers’ daring do. Our most entertaining and informative stories come from you, our membership but I know there are more stores waiting to be told. The story can be about anything from flight school to real life, TINS, or there-I-was stories. We’ve published several stories over the years ranging from tales of flight school a long, long time ago to real life “war stories” that we’re sure most of you can identify with. We look forward to hearing from you so, take a moment to lay fingers on keyboard or just put pen to paper and send in those stories. You can email them to or through the US Post Office to: CHPA • PO Box 15852 • Washington, DC 20003


Volume 5, Issue 12

CHPA • The Swash Plate

Welcome Buzz Covington Ed Note: Buzz Covington is the newest member of the CHPA Board of Directors. Please join us in welcoming him aboard.

J.R. "Buzz" Covington joined the US Navy in March of 1987, and began his military career as both an Aviation Electronics Technician and an Electronic Warfare Operator. In the eight years he served in the Navy he flew aboard reconnaissance aircraft such as the A3 Skywarrior, the EP-3 Aries and the ES-3 Shadow while performing his duties. In this role, Buzz took part in operations gathering intelligence against adversaries around the world, and took part in the Bosnian conflict, Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and many other undisclosed operations. Buzz transferred to the US Army in 1995 and began his career as a Warrant Officer at Fort Rucker, Alabama. After completing the scout/recon track and graduating flight school, he was chosen to attend the AH-64 Apache AQC, as well as the ASE-EWO course. Upon completion, Buzz's first duty station was 2/6th Cavalry at Stork Barracks in Illesheim, Germany. Highlights of this tour included becoming a pilot in command, flying in support of Task Force Hawk in Albania, Macedonia, and Kosovo, and a successful deployment to Poland for Victory Strike One. Although a junior Warrant Officer, Buzz distinguished himself early on as the Squadron's ASE-EWO, and Tactical Operations Officer before departing Germany in the spring of 2001. During a brief assignment to Fort Rucker, Buzz graduated the AH-64D Longbow Apache AQC, and the Longbow instructor pilot course. His next duty location would be 1/4th Aviation, where he served as both an instructor pilot, as well as the Battalion Tactical Operations officer. Highlights of this duty assignment included going through the Army's Unit Field Training Program (UFTP) and most importantly, deploying to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom One, from 2003 to 2004. During this deployment, Buzz accumulated over 850 combat hours and suffered a catastrophic failure of his helicopter which would later lead to a complete reconstruction of his lower back. Buzz's next assignment was to the prestigious 21st Cavalry Brigade as the brigade Tactical Operations officer, where his contributions to Army Aviation would continue to have a lasting impact on training and mentoring of unit aviators that were attending UFTP, as well as a host of other endeavors. A unique achievement during his tenure was to become one of only two active duty pilots in the Army to qualify as a UAV operator from the front seat of the Longbow Apache. The lessons learned from this advanced technology demonstration have paved the way for future capabilities in Army aircraft that are now maturing into reality. Buzz's present (and final) assignment is at 4/227th ARB, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade. Buzz recently returned from another year-long deployment to Iraq, and is now serving as the battalion Tac-Ops officer and performing duties as an instructor pilot. Buzz is three classes away from completing his degree in Homeland Security with a focus on Counter Terrorism with American Military University. Outside of work, interests include photography (, playing with the family's English Bulldogs Ellie and Loki, and supporting the career of his wife, Major Darcy Saint-Amant. Buzz also stays busy participating in various charitable and fraternal organizations such as the association of Old Crows, Quad-A, The Knights of Columbus, and Veterans of Foreign wars, and of course, the Combat Helicopters Pilots Association. 4 3

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CHPA • The Swash Plate

Still Christmas Shopping? Christmas is now just a few days away. I know there are some of you that have reached a point where you’re wondering where to get that final gift to round things out. Or you may be like me and a practiced procrastinator when it comes to Christmas Shopping. In either case there are some items in the CHPA online store,, that could well be exactly what you’re looking for. The long sleeve shirts are available in black or khaki and we anticipate, once warmer weather returns, having the oxford shirts available in short sleeve as well. Both color shirts have the CHPA logo on the left chest area and feature a shirt pocket and button down collars. We have a great selection of all sizes available now. The jackets are available only in black and are from Charles River apparel. The jacket is light weight with a nylon lining and water resistant microfiber shell and a generous storm flap over the zipper to keep the wind out. Again, we have a great supply of sizes ranging from small to 3XL on hand. Shop now and you’ll have your items in time for Christmas.

A Call to Service Hey You!! Yeah, you! Are you a pilot member in good standing? Have you been a member of CHPA for at least three years, not necessarily consecutively? Do you have a small amount of spare time to devote to promoting the legacy and preserving the history of the combat helicopter pilot and crew? If so, I have an opportunity for you. There are currently a couple of vacant seats on the CHPA Board of Directors. The requirements are easy, there is only one teleconference meeting each month, the phone call is free and right now the schedule is the second Sunday in each month. So give consideration to actively supporting your organization by serving on the Board of Directors. If you have any questions give our HQ a call at 800•832•5144 or drop them an email at Information on the requirements is available in the by-laws available online at the CHPA website. We look forward to hearing from you soon. 4

Volume 5, Issue 12

CHPA • The Swash Plate

Mid-Air Catch Robert Frost

Those of us who flew helicopters in combat over the skies of Vietnam (and other places in Southeast Asia) have our share of “war stories”. And, I am almost positive each of us has stories that fall into the “humorous and lucky” category. I have such a story that occurred early in my tour as a brand new “Peter Pilot”. After arriving in country I was assigned to the 195 th Assault Helicopter Company based out of Plantation. I don’t remember the unit we were supporting the day of this particular mission, but we were operating in the area around Xuan Loc. We had inserted and picked up several recon teams that day out of a firebase. My aircraft commander that day was a combat experienced CW2 with only a couple of months left in country. I remember him as a fine, levelheaded pilot who really wanted to teach and help the new guys. It was getting later in the day and I remember a field grade officer (I believe he was a major or light colonel) wanted to go up one more time to plan for the next day’s insertions. We climbed into the H model once more; fired it up and took off with the ground commander in the back of the aircraft with his map. As I recall we were flying around above the jungle high enough that we felt we were out of small arms range. We were being directed to fly here and there. This went on for several minutes and then the unthinkable happened. The map blew out of the aircraft. The commander was screaming obscenities. Apparently, there was considerable information of a secret and sensitive nature on that map. It would be bad for our troops and the mission if it fell into enemy hands. Sure enough, we did a quick 180 with the aircraft and could see the map falling very slowly out of the sky with nothing but jungle below us. By this time, the CW2 had taken the controls and reassured the commander to sit back and enjoy the ride. He slowed the aircraft considerably, still maintaining translational lift and aimed the nose for the map that seemed to be floating in the sky. We made a pass at the map in the hopes of snagging it on the nose or skid of the aircraft. We did not want to be going too fast when we intercepted it for fear of tearing the map into pieces. As I recall we made close to a half dozen passes before we snagged the map on the skid cross member on the left side of the aircraft. The crew chief climbed out on the skid and retrieved the map. By that time, we were running out of altitude and were only a few feet above the jungle canopy. I don’t think we would have had enough altitude to make another pass at snagging the map. Well, the ground commander was ecstatic and relieved. We had saved his “bacon”. That day ended with all of us safely back at Plantation Air Field telling “war stories” and consuming adult beverages. This CW2 was always cool under pressure and I felt grateful on the days I was assigned to fly with him. For the life of me I wish I could remember his name. Who knows, maybe he will read this story and let us know he is still with us.

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Volume 5, Issue 12

CHPA • The Swash Plate

CSI-Iraq Shawn Miller

A small blood trail led through the desert from the wrecked minivan to a small home as Iraqi Police working with Iraqi Army soldiers probed the scene, collecting evidence for their upcoming case. Civilian-contracted US law enforcement professionals from the 11th Military Police Joint Expeditionary Forensics Facility 4 at Contingency Operating Base Speicher carefully constructed a crime scene, December 4th, in order to teach Iraqi and US forces Iraqi Police LT Muntasar Sami Nada, center, and 1LT Asaad Kadir to properly investigate and collect evidence. bag evidence while Iraqi Army MAJ Anas "This is the very first time we have trained Iraqis Muhammad, Muhammad, 4th Iraqi Army Division, looks over a rifle found at a and US forces together," said Spencer Frazee, a law simulated crime scene at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq, December 4th. Iraqi students learned crime scene enforcement professional with the JEFF4. investigation techniques alongside their US counterparts. A small group of soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, Photo/SSG Shawn Miller. 27th Infantry Regiment, "Wolfhounds," 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, participated in the class with their IP and IA counterparts. As Operation New Dawn approaches the 100-day mark, the US soldiers, who work with their Iraqi partners daily, took a step back, allowing the Iraqis to take the lead in the classroom, as IA and IP forces transition to independent control of operations across US Division-North and Iraq. “Our role was to facilitate the training,” said SSG Alex Shackleford, Company B, 1st Bn., 27th Inf. Regt. “We advised them in the classroom and then assisted them on the range.” As part of the security agreement between the US and Iraq, Iraqi Security Forces have control of all crime scenes, unless American personnel are involved in the incident, Frazee said. Having the ISF leading the class mirrors that standard, he explained. Recognizing what classifies as evidence, and then documenting, collecting and processing that evidence without contaminating it is the key focus of the course, said Frazee, a veteran detective from Manchester, CT, with 25 years of experience. After a day of classroom instruction, the students were tasked with processing and collecting evidence from the minivan and house during the second day of the course. To add to the realism of the training, Wolfhound soldiers provided security and assistance as the four Iraqi students methodically worked their way through the area. “We went over what to do, what not to do and how to gather evidence,” he added, as he and the other American soldiers oversaw the process. Beyond simply looking for clues and gathering evidence, the process itself from beginning to end is important, Frazee noted. Getting the investigating agents to wear gloves and not contaminate the scene with their own DNA is vital, he said. “DNA is still magic to them,” said Frazee, noting how it is on the verge of court acceptance in Iraq. “We’ve actually done classes for judges.” US law enforcement professionals and Army Judge Advocate General officials are training Iraqi judges and lawyers on the importance of DNA and forensics in hopes that it might build stronger cases against detainees, Frazee explained. “What we’re trying to do is have the police catch up,” he said. “We’re trying to eliminate those Concluded on Page 7 reasons for throwing a case out.” 6

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Despite the new knowledge of DNA and forensics, the Iraqi forces still must rely on US facilities to process their findings since Salah ad-Din lacks any Iraqi-run labs, explained Frazee. The classes taught at the JEFF4 and the partnership with the US soldiers will set up the Iraqis with skills necessary to continue on their own, he said. “Basically, what we’re teaching them is what can be done; the right way for things to be done and what should be done,” Frazee said. “Now it’s up to them to put pressure on their government to supply them with a lab in Salah ad-Din.”

Got Patches? CHPA is building quite a collection of patches from our members for display at our venues at HAI, Quad A, and VHPA. Several of our members have given us patches, including those shown here which we put on display . when we set up our booth. If you have any patches you’d like to share send them to us at: CHPA • PO Box 15852 • Washington, DC 20003

Robert N. Tredway Award Now is the time to get your nominations in for this prestigious award. The requirements for nomination can be found on your website at Announcement of the selection will be made in the July issue of The Swash Plate. The WT

Annual Meeting Update The ground work for the 2011 Annual Meeting is well underway with Rick Roll capably leading the way. Rick has already set the headquarters hotel as the Hampton Inn in Enterprise, AL. Rick also is working with the Fort Rucker Command to roll out the red carpet complete with tours of such training facilities as the simulators and dunker training site. The visit to Mother Rucker is shaping up to be a memorable occasion so start making plans to join us in October, 2011 for another great party. 7

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CHPA • The Swash Plate

Flood Relief in Pakistan US military aircraft supporting Pakistan's flood relief efforts achieved a significant milestone Monday, November 29th, providing humanitarian airlift for more than 40,000 flood victims since August 5th, when US military relief flight operations in Pakistan began. "This new milestone represents tremendous teamwork between Pakistan and US flood relief workers. Thanks to the amazing An American military helicopter and its joint US - Pakistan crew prepare to embark dozens of flood victims from the Swat Valley, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, partnership and support we've experienced from Pakistan, during a mid-November humanitarian airlift mission. the Pakistan military and organizations like USAID and the World Food Program, we've been able to alleviate flood-related hardships for many people in isolated, flood-torn communities of northern and southern Pakistan," said BG Michael Nagata, Deputy US Defense Representative to Pakistan. There are currently 18 US military helicopters and approximately 350 service members conducting airlift missions. The Government of Pakistan set November 30th as the final date for the US military's humanitarian airlift mission, as the focus shifts to sustainable recovery efforts led by civilian agencies. "While our presence is changing, US support continues and will remain strong," said General Nagata. In addition to humanitarian airlift, the US Government is providing more than $571 million to assist Pakistan with relief and recovery efforts for flood victims.

Call on Us! Contact Quick Reference President – Rhea Rippey

Buzz Covington

VP Administration – Vacant

Rick Roll

VP Membership – Rusty Bourgoyne

Randy Zahn

Secretary – Robert Frost

Al Major

Treasurer – Loren McAnally


HQ – Jay Brown


Call us! 800.832.5144 Fax us! 719.687.4167 Write us! CHPA PO Box 15852 Washington, DC 20003 Remember! Feel free to contact us any time.


December 2010 Swash Plate  

Monthly newsletter for the Combat Helicopter Pilots Association for December 2010.

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