The Scuttlebutt Archive


Praise for The Scuttlebutt

Letter to the Editor

I wanted to drop you a quick note to say that I appreciate hearing about the latest news and events of Air Group One through Jim’s e-mails. Ever since Al Riker, Jack Draper, Bob Simon, Howard Merritt and a few other gentlemen originally introduced me to the CAF and took me under their “wings” back in 2006 or 2007 at the El Centro Air Show, I have felt a sense of pride every time I receive an e-mail from your unit. As you may or may not remember, I am currently deployed to Camp Leatherneck, a joint military base composed of mostly U.S. and British troops, located in the southwest Helmand Province of Afghanistan.

My squadron mates and I have been taking the fight to the enemy and capitalizing on their every mistake. Every day out here, we are witness to either Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), small arms fire, indirect fire (mortar rounds and unguided rockets) and the occasional heavy machine gun and rocket propelled grenade fire. If we are not on the receiving end of these munitions from them having been fired at our helicopters, then we are seeing the gruesome devastation that these horrible acts are taking on our boys on the ground. The Taliban is getting better at their tactics but believe me, so are we.

Each day, on average of about three or four times a day, we are sent sprinting out to our UH-1Y “Huey” and AH-1W “Cobra” helicopters by the unmistakable “Troops in Contact” horn. We use this horn to signal the pilots and aircrew of our helicopters that the Marines, Army, Brits, Georgians, or Afghan forces are in need of over-head cover because they are currently being engaged by enemy forces. Many times, when we are arriving overhead, the bad guys cowardly hide their weapons and disappear into the local populace of innocent locals, women, and children and live to fight another day. Occasionally, however, our ground forces are able to gain (and maintain) Positive Identification of these individuals and relay to us overhead the enemy’s firing positions. Once this happens, we are able to almost
surgically remove them from the battlespace with one of our many tools designed for just such an occasion.

Please understand that I didn’t write this email to depress or anger anyone that you may choose to share it with, but instead to make aware or simply remind and women that I am so very honored to serve with and support from the overhead, many of whom aren’t even old enough to legally drink alcohol, are doing on a daily basis.

These are the men and women, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, and mothers and fathers that allow us to continue to live the good life back in the states.

These are the men and women that I pledge allegiance to and the individuals that I believe you and Air Group One have so well and faithfully worked hard for so many years to honor and ensure that they are not for-gotten. Whether it is from World War II, Vietnam, The Gulf War or Operations Iraqi or Enduring Freedom, you allow the torch to still burn in honor of such heroes.

It is because of this that I offer my sincere gratitude and heartfelt “thank you” to you and everyone who may read or be on the receiving end of my words. It is also because of this reason that I feel so much of a sense of pride in being able to call myself one of the members of the Commemorative Air Force.

Semper Fidelis.
Major Dan “Magnet” Groeling
HMLA-369 “Gunfighters”
UH-1 Huey Pilot

CAF Col #32960