Example: [Collected on the Internet, November 2012]
Vanessa Dobos is a gunner on a USAF AC-130 gunship. She has seen action in Iraq and Afghanistan. She likes long walks on the beach, men who aren't afraid to cry and puppies.
Her dislikes include feed tray stoppages, tracer flareout of her NVGs and premature fixed-wing strikes scattering her high-value targets.
Origins: The captioning on this photograph may be a bit tongue-in-cheek, but the person pictured is indeed real: This picture was used to accompany a
While her job as an enlisted aircrew member on the
Raised in the small town of Valley View, Ohio, her interest in the military was sparked by her father. Described by Dobos as a "history buff," her dad talked a lot about America’s past heroes while they often watched classic war movies.
"He instilled in me so much respect for our country’s past heroes," she said.
Near the end of her senior year in high school, she found herself talking to a recruiter. She told him she wouldn’t consider a job if it wasn't flying-related.
"I had no intention of joining," she said. "I didn’t realize how few enlisted aircrew jobs there were."
Nothing appealed to Dobos until another recruiter mentioned a career field that had just opened to new
“Just the title caught my eye,” she said, and to her parents’ surprise, as well as her own, she signed up that day.
A few months later, Dobos found herself in basic military training and later at the basic aerial gunner course at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. She was not aware she was on her way to becoming the Air Force’s first female gunner until midway through training.
"I went from being another airman in the crowd to someone who people would always be watching and analyzing," she said. "In some ways, I was afraid that people in the helicopter world were already prepared to be disappointed in me. I figured there were some people with hard feelings about a girl in the job. I was determined not to let them down."
And she didn’t.
As a member of the 66th Rescue Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Dobos "mans" a
It’s the job her predecessors from World
"I really love my job," she said. "I enjoy learning about the history of my career field, but I don’t compare myself to gunners from [World
Killed in the Oct. 20 crash of an
According to the accident investigation board report released
Badly injured in the crash was pararescueman Staff
When the Kandahar-based rescue team accepted the nighttime mission, it was rated at "moderate risk," investigators found.
The mission was to evacuate an Afghan elections monitor who had been accidentally shot in the right arm. The rescue package of two
When they arrived over the landing zone
The crews wanted the wounded civilian and Afghan police escorts to move to an open landing spot. But because of poor communication, the Afghans didn't move.
The aircrews then decided to airlift the wounded man out by hoisting him aboard a hovering Pave Hawk using a motorized winch and a Stokes litter.
While one Pave Hawk circled above, Samek's helicopter, piloted by
Sitting on the left side of the Pave Hawk, Senior Airman
No one had expected the cloud of sand to reach that high. Investigators concluded the valley walls funneled the sand upward.
After about five seconds in the brownout, Haff decided to fly out of the swirling sand. Within two seconds of leaving the hover, the helicopter flew into a hillside at a speed of
The aircraft blades were the first to hit the ground, followed by a belly of the fuselage. The aircraft 'skipped up' the side of the hill before losing forward momentum, the report said. The Pave Hawk then rolled downhill.
Samek was ejected from the helicopter, coming to rest about
When Samek's body was found, he wasn't wearing his helmet, body armor or survival vest.
Investigators concluded Samek had been wearing the safety gear, but hadn't connected the vest's two leg straps around his legs. During the roll, the tension on the strap connecting Samek to the helicopter was so great that it stripped the safety gear off Samek and he was flung out of the Pave Hawk.
Last updated: 27 March 2015
Rogers, Keith. "Deployment Begins in Earnest." Las Vegas Review-Journal. 15 January 2003. Rolfsen, Bruce. "Report: Brownout, Ejection Factors in Crash Death." Air Force Times. 10 January 2005. Widener, Chuck. "A New Breed of Gunner." Airman. November 2003.