Just an email relay from friend of a friend on the Lincoln. Thought some might enjoy - if so I will post subsequent mailings.
SOP: Standard Operating Procedures
Gator: Ship's Navigator. Generally one of the higher ranking officers on the ship.
CO: Commanding Officer
HSL: Helicopter Squadron, Light - In the loafers!
LSE: Landing Signalman, Enlisted. Responsible for safely guiding the helo on/off the ships.
NM: Nautical Miles
DIW: Dead in water
I'll send you a couple flight plan cartoons. Note that I have not been ashore, only a few people (~50), plus the helos go in each day.
You are right about your intuition, this is a helo pilot's DREAM mission. All Helo (zero fix-wing flight ops), Helo's are heroes, lots of opportunity for audibles on how you perform your mission, all of it making a huge difference on whether people live or die, all in unprepared areas, ... fixed-wing guys now having to settle for ugly Ch___s.
A couple amusing stories. The crowds always get too close, so the TNI (Indonesian Military) SOP is to cap-off a couple rounds into the air or ground to keep them back ... this obviously makes our people a bit nervous, with such a trigger happy mentality. So some leaflet artist drew a cartoon pic of people getting their heads lopped-off by helo blades, which were then passed out to the TNI trigger-pullers. They must have been quite well done, since the crowds made some audible 'Ohhhhhhs' and 'Ahhhhhs" then stayed a respectful distance of their own accord, with no flying lead. Smiles all around. We were amazed these worked so well, who woulda thought.
Our Gator did a stint as a co-pilot with the 60 Minutes HSL-47 CO "Tank." After a drop, they're getting ready to lift off, but directly in front of them is a 6 y/o boy, standing stone still. They shrug, as he clearly doesn't want anything, just standing there almost at attention. So they apply a little collective (or whatever it is that makes your 10,000 rivets get rejected by the earth and fly) and the kid starts giving mock LSE signals bringing his hands from his sides to directly over his head to a clap. In return they both give the kid a dramatic, thumbs-up. Broad smile! They then follow his signals, though with a slight dog-leg to the left to avoid lopping off his head, and leave an ecstatic boy in their wake. On a sad note, he was one of many kids in that area, very few adults.
Another small aftershock as I type this. This is no-kidding. My aftershock mini-blog:
Earthquakes (aftershocks) at sea:
Hard to believe, but we can feel them in over 2000 feet of water, on an aircraft carrier 30-40nm at sea! That they feel them on land is a given, but on an aircraft carrier?!?
Two nights ago, we had a shallow 5.4 , with an epicenter 56 miles away. It shook us pretty good (another one which we later correlated to a couple hours earlier shook us a little, but everyone thought we just hit a wave at an odd angle or it was due to acceleration which will give a certain vibration to the ship), enough to where I threw on my boots and hustled to CDC to see what was wrong. Even the engineering plant manned up as though something was very wrong, due to loud noises. We went immediately DIW, and began methodical trouble-shooting, -- esp since it was the second event that night. Nothing was wrong, but other ships reported the same phenomenon.
The next morning (yesterday) at around 0757 a 6.4, 40 miles deep hit, we were 8 miles fm epicenter. We only felt this one a little, though it was unmistakable in the way it jostled the ship (directly up and down like a cork, no side to side).
1. Incompressible fluid, 2. thick crust vs thin water, and 3. proximity to epicenter, or perhaps a focal point/harmonic area somewhat near the epicenter is our guess. All combine to shake us at sea. That 5.4 got our attention! -- I don't want to sea what a 7.0 + looks like, or esp that 9.0+.
Now we get briefed on earthquake activities and plate tectonics in our meetings. Before this no one thought this was possible well out at sea, all laughed when it was even suggested, until the times exactly matched.
One item of recommended reading: the relatively recently published Krakatoa (coincidentally occurring at the exact southern end of Sumatra) about the explosion of that volcano in 1883, and the huge tidal waves, killing 40,000 people. It was the first worldwide event as undersea telegraph lines were just then in existence. Now we have ample amateur video and satellite comms, VTC, and Email. This event will certainly rank as the greatest natural disaster since then. Another one of my many books on tape.