A word with Echo...

I'm just gonna start at the top.

Not the worst I've seen. Hmmm? Oh yeah, I've been around the block.

Yes, the pilot with an ultra-high clearance would obviously feel comfortable prattling on about compartmentalized information regarding all the shit he's seen. Brilliant start.

> When you're the pilot of the Foundation's only close support gunship
> only close support gunship
> Implying

Yes, a single aircraft with a maximum airspeed of around 300 miles per hour and a range of ~2500 miles could certainly provide direct support worldwide. Totally believable. I can see how it wouldn't make sense at for there to be additional regional organic CAS elements tasked with direct support of operating forces and provided through smaller gunships with less of a footprint, like, say, AH-1Z Vipers and UH-1Y Venoms. This makes a lot more sense.

I was just a young pilot in the air national guard.

This is pretty golden, too. Aside from a basic C-130 pilot being literally unable to fly an AC-130 if he wanted to (different weights and load balancing, different coursework in training, vastly different crew, mission profiles, operating constraints and procedures… you know, basically everything there is to flying the plane), you drop the bomb.

Air National Guard.

Two units operate AC-130 gunships: the Air Force Special Operations Command, tasked directly to USSOCOM and its subordinate commands, and the 27th Special Operations Wing. Neither of these are Air National Guard units, and neither of them field ANG personnel. To take this one step farther, the AC-130 is one of only two aircraft that the ANG doesn't fly as compared to USAF. Forgetting that…

One day the base commander calls me and my crew into his office. Tells that we're going on a surprise training exercise, that it would, in fact, be live fire.

Because there's absolutely no way you couldn't get a few fast-movers on station and with a magnitude more total payload in the time it would take a big ol' AC-130 (that our speaker can't fly for about 15 reasons) to get out of bed, wake up, mosey to the fridge, take off and trundle its way to a target location.

Me and the crew chief exchange glances.

AC-130s don't have crew chiefs, brah.

and as I turn around for one more pass, I see it.

Implying a pilot could see a target at operating altitude. AC-130s are a speck in the sky. The pilots have to keep it out of range of, you know, stuff like AA guns and things that can shoot it down. This is, unsurprisingly, the same altitude the crews are trained to fly and engage from.

Yeah, I see you know who I'm talkin' about.


So I radio back to my commander. "Uh sir, we have what appears to be a large lizard in the target area. Requesting permission to engage."

The pilot flies the plane. He's not the one who handles ground clearance for anything but the plane he's flying; that's the fire control officer's job. He's tasked with making sure that the plane's targets match acceptable target profiles and ensures RoE is followed. This is, after all, a system that can deploy literally hundreds of pounds of explosive ordnance over a significant portion of the countryside; they have a number of people in place, all little cogs in a machine, to avoid screw ups.

I have to say it was a pretty sight, the shell bursts and HE impacts tearin' him to shreds.

This isn't something the pilot would even know about; this falls to the people who actually aim the weapons, a pair of enlisted guys that operate digital and thermal targeting systems. All the pilot ever sees is two things: the horizon , and the horizon at about a 45-degree angle or so once the attack commences.

On another note, if you'd read the article, you'd see that a fire-team-and-a-half or so can subdue it with small arms. Moving past that…

the AC-130 is not made for dogfighting. We're juking all over the sky trying to keep this asshole off our backs

"It's not maneuverable at all, and handles like an overloaded cargo prop-driven plane that weighs 75 tons, but there I was, jukin' all over the sky like the Tuskegee Airmen!"

Eventually, I decide to end this bullshit. I pull the AC-130 around to give my gunner the shot.

"And just then, wouldn't ya believe it? He didn't even need to! The Millennium Falcon came tearing down and blasted the TIE Fighter 682 off our backs!"

he lasted until he contracted some sort of memetic agent through the sights of his gun. I hadda put him down myself. Damn shame.

Yes, in addition to deploying AC-130 gunships piloted by people who are apparently magic or something in order to engage an idea, professional, mentally sound military personnel can apparently discuss "putting down" their best friends like Ol' Yeller. Excellent work, writer, bravo.

That bastard screamed so loud I figured it was some sort of sonic attack


When he hit he musta made a crater deeper than I am tall

Because when biological material hits the ground at terminal velocity, it doesn't bounce, doesn't splatter… No, my friends… it leaves a TEN-FOOT CRATER.

That was the last I saw of him, just lying there in that crater. Looked almost peaceful.

"Yeah, Jim, after my gunners blasted a flying target they couldn't see while my modified cargo plane was doing loopty-loos, I looked back at an angle impossible to see from my cockpit and saw a remnant of something embedded in the dirt from 20,000 feet down well enough to tell he looked… peaceful, almost. Yep, swear to God."

When we got back the commander told us in no uncertain terms that we had seen nothing, heard nothing, and most of all, we had certainly shot at nothing. I spent the next two weeks off duty, tryin' my best to forget that shit. Just a tip, but alcohol works just as good as any class-C.

You know, I gotta say, too, the thing I liked most about being in the military was being able to take two weeks off at short notice, especially when I was in a unit that could be called up at any time, and required us to be sober on or off duty. Good times.

What? Why go through all the bother of hiring me? Why didn't they just give me a class A?

I dunno either, writer. Perhaps you could have come up with a better reason than a hackneyed "because he survived."

"Hey, Fred! You think we should debrief these guys and secure intelligence on the weird reality-defying terror we had them blast?"
"Nah, I'm pretty sure they can keep their mouths shut. I mean, it's to be expected, right? I think we can go on the honor system here."
"Thanks, Fred."

Maybe I'll tell you about them sometime.

And maybe next time you could bother doing 5 minutes of research or asking around on the chat before posting something like this.