Flying is described as long periods of boredom interrupted by short intermittent periods of extreme terror. On the lessons from the podcast show, we debrief the most intriguing pilots, aircrew members, maintainers, and aviation enthusiasts from all over the world. We investigate the tactics, techniques, and procedures cultivated during extreme military, commercial, and private flight operations. Our exploration gives listeners practical advice on how the aviation world works and expands critical thinking expertise in the air and on the ground. Many of the stories are told here for the first time.
Leave No One Behind with 160th SOAR pilot Al Mack
Welcome to the thirty-fifth episode of the Lessons from the Cockpit podcast!
In the fifth part of our series on the Battle of Roberts Ridge we talk with Warrant Officer Al Mack, the pilot of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment MH-47 Chinook callsign RAZOR 3 delivering SEAL Team MAKO 30 to the top of Takur Ghar mountain at 3:30 am Monday morning 4 March 2002. His Chinook comes under heavy fire from enemy forces and SEAL Neil Roberts falls off the back ramp, which begins the desperate search and rescue for him. Al goes into the small details of how this mission unfolded and the lessons learned from the Battle of Roberts Ridge. Numerous changes were made because Al wrote all of his lessons down!
There are several documentaries on the Battle of Roberts Ridge with Al Mack and other participants on YouTube. I suggest you watch these three videos on what happened on Takur Ghar here, here, and the CIA Predator UAV video of John Chapman's heroics here.
An article on the recovery of MH-47 Chinook RAZOR 3 called From a Great Height is a great read on how the Army recovered Al Mack's wounded helo from the valley his crew crash-landed in.
Two great articles on how a candidate becomes a 160th SOAR Night Stalker are found on the Office of the Command Historian webpage.
Support from the Lessons from the Cockpit podcast comes from Wall Pilot, aviation art for the walls of your home, office, or hanger. These very detailed images are printed on vinyl and can be peeled off and stuck to any flat surface or just framed.
Please share this and previous episodes of the Lesson from the Cockpit podcast with your family and friends found on my website markhasara.com
Leave No One Behind with Mark Hasara
Welcome to another episode of the Lessons from the Cockpit podcast and our series on the Battle of Roberts Ridge and Operation Anaconda.
Arriving in Saudi Arabia on my wife's birthday in 2002, I jumped right into running a team of air refueling professionals. In mid-February, all of us in the Prince Sultan Combined Aerospace Operations Center were hearing about some snake-like operation. Because my Air Refueling Control Team had just accomplished two big "science projects" we felt good. Nobody was ready for what happened. This episode is my Air Operations Center view of what happened in March 2002 in Afghanistan's Shaia Kot Valley, the Place of Kings in Pashtun. There were a LOT of lessons learned after Anaconda applied to planning the upcoming invasion of Iraq.
Lessons from the Cockpit podcast is supported by Wall Pilot, custom aviation art for the walls of your home, office, or hanger. These extremely detailed profile illustrations are printed on vinyl to peel off and stick to any flat smooth surface. Ready-to-Print graphics are available at wallpilot.com
A four, six, or eight-foot long print of the F-15E Anaconda Squeeze Play callsign TWISTER 52 participating in Roberts Ridge is available at Wall Pilot.
A similar print of the F-16CG CLASH 71 supporting the Battle of Roberts Ridge can be purchased at Wall Pilot also.
A print of a B-1 bomber Mr. Bones can also be found in the Ready-to-Print section of Wall Pilot.
The book Alone at Dawn by Dan Schilling tells USAF Combat Controller and Medal of Honor winner TSgt John Chapman's story which is being made into the movie Combat Controller is available on Amazon.
Lt Col Pete Blaber's terrific book The Mission, The Men and Me about his exploits as a Delta Force operator is also available on Amazon.
My book Tanker Pilot; Lessons from the Cockpit has several chapters on Operation Anaconda.
Thanks for listening and look forward to the fifth Roberts Ridge episode next week as the pilot from the Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment or SOAR flying MH-47 Chinook RAZOR 3 tells his incredible story of inserting MAKO 30 atop Takhur Ghar mountain.
Please download and share this and previous episodes of the Lessons from the Cockpit podcast with friends and family found at markhasara.com.
Operation Anaconda Air Mobility with Colonel Geno Redmon
Welcome to the thirty-third episode of the Lessons from the Cockpit podcast!
One of the greatest assets US leadership owns is the ability to move patients, cargo, and relief supplies anywhere on the planet literally in twenty-four hours. It's all done from one place! Colonel Geno Redmon was my KC-135 Squadron Commander in Okinawa Japan during the mid-90s. As Vice Commander of Air Mobility Command's Tanker Airlift Control Center on 9/11, Geno tells us how air mobility operations were planned and executed to defend the US from attack and move US and allied forces to Afghanistan to hunt Osama bin Laden. His TACC Team leaned way forward watching the Battle of Roberts Ridge unfold through the same CIA Predator video feed I was watching at the Saudi Arabian Air Operations Center. Geno tells the story of the first C-17 crew into Karshi Khanabad and speaking with Marine Corps Brigadier General Jim Mattis as his troops prepared to occupy an Afghan airfield.
Support for the Lessons from the Cockpit podcast comes solely from Wall Pilot, very detailed custom airplane profiles printed on vinyl and can be peeled off and stuck to any flat surface or framed for the walls of your home, office, or hanger. Aircraft profiles are available in right (Crew Chief names!) or left side (Aircrew names!) profile images. Custom images can be created with aircrew names, unit markings even specific weapons loads, and nose art in four, six, and eight-foot long vinyl graphics. Wall Pilot has printed a thirty-footer for one customer!
A graphic is available of the 909th Air Refueling Squadron KC-135 in four, six, and eight-foot long images.
Two KC-10A Extender graphics are available for jets based at McGuire and Travis Air Force Bases at Wall Pilot.
The C-130J is an AMC workhorse flying missions all over the world and is also available from Wall Pilot.
The book Tanker Pilot: Lessons from the Cockpit Geno and I talked about around his firepit is available on Amazon. Thirty-two pictures taken during events discussed in the book are included in all four formats: hardback, softback, kindle, and audible
Thanks for listening and please download and share this and previous episodes of the Lessons from the Cockpit podcast with your family and friends found on my website at markhasara.com
Operation Anaconda A-10 Hawgs with Col Scott "Soup" Campbell
Welcome to this episode of the Lessons from the Cockpit podcast, and it's a great one! This is the second of six episodes on Operation Anaconda and the Battle of Roberts Ridge.
Colonel Scott "Soup" Campbell has the distinction of being awarded three Distinguished Flying Crosses in four days during the Battle of Roberts Ridge and Operation Anaconda "for heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight" in the Air Force A-10 Warthog. Graduating from the Air Force Weapons School A-10 division while at Pope AFB, Soup Campbell and his wingman K-Nine left Al Jaber Air Base Kuwait on 4 March 2002 after the Battle of Roberts Ridge had started. Over the next four days, Soup and a band of Hawg drivers and support folks provided Forward Air Control and Close Air Support to Operation Anaconda from an austere base in Pakistan. This episode is his incredible story of heroism in the air and on the ground when things went very bad in the Shaia-i-Kot Valley of Afghanistan.
All of you should read his three DFC citations, found on the Distinguished Flying Cross Society
The Lessons from the Cockpit podcast is supported through the custom aviation art from Wall Pilot. These extremely detailed aircraft profile illustrations are printed on vinyl and peeled off and can be stuck to the walls of your home, office, or hangar. Ready-to-print images of aircraft from WW II P-51 and ME-109, Cold War B-58 Hustler and SR-71 spy plane, and Global War on Terrorism F-15Es and F-16s are available in four. six, and eight-foot-long prints.
A print of an A-10 Warthog is available from the Wall Pilot website.
Thanks for downloading and listening to this episode. Please subscribe and share previous episodes of the Lessons from the Cockpit podcast with your family and friends found on the markhasara.com website.
Next week in episode three of Operation Anaconda and Roberts Ridge, the Vice Commander of Air Mobility Command's Tanker Airlift Control Center at Scott AFB near St Louis tells us his lessons learned moving cargo and fresh MH-47 Special Ops helicopters to Afghanistan, and moving service members remains and wounded patients out of Afghanistan.
The Battle of Roberts Ridge with Colonel Matt Neuenswander
Welcome to the first episode of a six-part series of the Lessons from the Cockpit podcast on the Battle of Roberts Ridge, episode number 31!
At approximately 3 am on Monday 4 March 2002 a 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment or SOAR MH-47 Chinook helicopter approached the top of Takur Ghar mountain, a critical piece of high terrain looking over the Shah-i-Kot Valley of Afghanistan. SEAL Team Six Petty Officer Neal Roberts fell off the Chinook ramp as Al Qaeda fighters opened fire on the helo. This event begins the rescue and recovery of Neal Roberts and the Battle for Roberts Ridge.
Colonel Matt Neuenswander, callsign El Cid, was Deputy Commander of the 332nd Expeditionary Operations Group at Al Jaber Air Field in Kuwait, and his air forces are called upon to support Roberts Ridge over a thousand miles away. El Cid tells the Lessons from the Cockpit audience his experiences and lessons learned from events during this battle and Operation Anaconda. He and his team must set up shop at an austere airbase in Pakistan so A-10 Warthogs can support air operations trying to capture or kill Osama bin Laden and his forces in the Shah-i-Kot Valley.
Here is an interview with Colonel Neuenswander from YouTube you will enjoy.
The Air Force after-action report called Operation Anaconda: An Air Power Perspective can be downloaded and read for more information on the Battle of Roberts Ridge.
Numerous books have been written about the rescue and recovery of Navy SEALs and Airmen from Roberts Ridge. I recommend reading Roberts Ridge by Malcomb MacPherson.
A four, six, or eight-foot print of Colonel Neuenswander's 68th Fighter Squadron F-16CG is available from Wall Pilot, custom aviation art for the walls of your home, office, or hanger. Prints of the A-10 from the 74th Flying Tigers squadron will be available in the near future... it's being drawn now!
This episode is sponsored by Tanker Pilot: Lessons from the Cockpit, available in all four reading formats from Amazon.
Please share this and previous episodes of the Lessons from the Cockpit podcast found on my website markhasara.com
My Review of TOPGUN Maverick movie
Welcome to another episode of the Lessons from the Cockpit podcast, episode number 30!
I'm asked several times a day "Have you seen the movie"... of course referring to TOPGUN Maverick. Of course I have, the opening night!
During this review, I talk about the Air Force's TOPGUN school, the US Air Force Weapons School based out of Nellis Air Force Base north of Las Vegas. Attendance to the Weapons School is by a competitive review board of each applicant. Often graduates or "Patch Wearers" as they are called get summoned to work complex military operations because of their planning and leadership skills. The scenario of the movie is not as far-fetched as you might think and I give some examples of planning missions, why planners chose a course of action, and some historical operations to strike and destroy nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons facilities as depicted in TOPGUN Maverick. And how do pilots and aircrew members get those crazy callsigns you hear about in the movie?
Wikipedia has a pretty good write-up on the Israeli Air Force strike on a nuclear plant in eastern Syria called Operation Outside the Box, the name chosen because Syria and North Korea tried to hide the nuclear facility under a boxy-type building. Syria's air defense system was rendered totally inoperable during the raid using means developed by the US.
I could not find the website Above Top Secret Surface to Air Missile Google Maps overlay. Here is a picture of the Russian airfield near Latakia Syria showing the S-400 SAM sites... which Israeli Air Force F-35 seem impervious from attack! Notice the Russian SU-35 rolling out on the runway and the IL-76 AWACS parked on the ramp!
Article on the B-2 bombers attacking Sirte Libya. This was a long mission planned and led by Weapons School graduates and required 950K+ gas from Air Force tankers to accomplish.
Thanks to Tanker Pilot: Lessons from the Cockpit for sponsoring this show.
This and previous episodes of the Lessons from the Cockpit podcast can be downloaded from markhasara.com
Thanks for listening and tune in next week for another episode of Lessons from the Cockpit.
Awesome radio voice
Interesting, engaging, he knows his stuff!
An above the layer podcast!
Mark has a really good show here. It’s a great mix of military aviation, life lessons, motivational material and history. A must listen for anyone interested in any or all of what I mentioned. If you’re prior USAF like me & now a Civil Aviation professional some, of the names and voices of guests you hear will be familiar, and even some of them that have moved onto the civilian world you may know too… Great stuff here ! - Mike “HAP” Arnold