1979: Look Before You Land

I really struggled when I got my medical grounding, but to be honest I was a much better platoon leader than I was an aviator. I was a B- pilot but my tour as a platoon leader/battalion staff officer snagged both Army Commendation (ARCOM) and Army Achievement (ARAM) medals for me…and I eventually “snagged” a second-hand SPH-4 helmet for Christmas last year.

David R. Deitrick, Designer

Another lesson from the “can’t tell a book from its cover” manual.

I was a flight student at Fort Rucker in the fall of 1979. The course of instruction was a little different then than it is now; each class wore a different colored hat (my class wore green) and our primary flight training was conducted in the TH55 – a small two-place helicopter manufactured by Hughes that was powered by a reciprocating engine and equipped with a manual throttle that you had to roll on and roll off as you changed power settings.  Taking to the air in the TH55 was not so much matter of sitting in an aircraft as it was strapping one to your back and then taking off.

Individual classes would fly either in the morning or the afternoon, taking off from a large central airfield and splitting up between various stage fields all over…

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