CWO5 David Cooper flew for the Night Stalkers. For those keeping score at home, those are the members of the Special Operations Aviation Regiment (spoken: The Black Helicopters that fly bad men in to do bad things to badder people).
CWO5 Cooper has been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the highest award ever given to a Night Stalker. The write up of his story is the stuff of legend.
After 12 to 15 minutes, Cooper was running low on ammunition, and landed back beside the crashed aircraft. He and his co-pilot stared at each other wide-eyed.
“Neither of us really expected to get out of this fight alive,” Cooper said.
He paid tribute to the four MH-6 pilots on the ground, who all later received Bronze Stars with “V” devices. “Those guys were off-loading unstable rockets off of the downed aircraft and loading them into my aircraft when I landed,” he said. “That’s not a recommended procedure in the book, [and] they were doing that all the time under fire and in plain view of the enemy.”
After no more than five minutes, Cooper and his copilot took off again. “We weren’t ordered to go back up,” he said. “I’m a gun pilot, and my duty is to support the ground forces.”
After another 15 minutes of fighting against a hail of insurgent fire, Cooper was running out of fuel and ammo and had to put down again. “I was going through ammunition at a fairly rapid clip,” he said.
The MH-6 pilots used a Leatherman tool to remove the crashed Little Bird’s auxiliary fuel tank and use it to refuel Cooper’s aircraft.
Then Cooper took off yet again, this time spending half an hour in the air. He got as close as 800 meters from the gun trucks and 200 from the house. “I was flying as erratically as I could to throw off the aim of the gunners,” he said.
I’ll buy that man a beer any day of the week.
and twice on sundays.
update: there’s a copy of the Army Times article in this forum.