Dangerously Daydreaming

"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible." ~ T. E. Lawrence

Playing Army at Fort Campbell

Welcome to Part 3 of recapping my recent adventures down South. You can read Part 1 and Part 2 here to get caught up (no pressure though).

After chowing down on some tasty Memphis-style baby back ribs in Memphis of all places, J and I continued our road trip northeast – past Nashville and just over the Kentucky border to Oak Grove.

My brother and his beautiful little family welcomed us into their home and it became a haven for us during the rest of our trip. I think I’ve mentioned already, my brother (who is 2 years my junior) has been an avionics technician for 6+ years with the U.S. Army. Prior to this trip I hadn’t seen him in almost 4 years because of living on opposite ends of the country and his being abroad for two tours in Afghanistan. It was such a joy to spend time with him, to grow closer to my sweet SIL, and to cuddle up with my two-year-old niece!

We got to enjoy a quiet morning in with them before piling into their car for a tour of the airfield where my brother has been working, in Fort Campbell. He drove us through the base gates, past some decommissioned planes and helicopters that decorated an intersection, and towards the massive airfield. It was the weekend so the place was a ghost town. We walked onto the tarmac and I was awed by the number of helicopters that sat row upon row. My brother took us out to see the Apaches closest to the hanger he works out of first.

Baby girl

The Apaches still had armaments on their wings. In a matter of seconds my brother climbed up by the cockpit and opened the door for us. He invited J to sit in the front seat and check out the controls. I got to sit in the back seat. It was incredible! I could almost imagine the rush of being in flight. And I was struck by the juxtaposition of my little niece in her pink, fluffy tutu playing hide and seek around the weapons on the wings – truly an Army brat in the best of ways!

Next my brother took us to see the Blackhawks. These are the helicopters that he occasionally rides on for combat missions as side gunner. I sat in the suicide seat that he occupies during the occasional combat mission in Afghanistan, but couldn’t for the world imagine aiming his SAW out the window at a target. My niece crawled all over the thing like it was her personal jungle gym while my brother explained some of the finer points of his job to my mechanic husband. I poked my head into the tiny space in the back of the helicopter that my brother squeezes into to work on the Blackhawk. It was lined with wiring, electronics, and didn’t even allow him room to stand upright. Good thing he doesn’t have issues with claustrophobia…

And soon we headed across the tarmac to see the massive Chinooks. We hopped inside of the cavernous hull and it didn’t surprise me a bit when my brother said that they can transport two HUMMWVs (Humvees) at a time. J once again got to hop in the pilot’s seat and I snapped some fun shots of him in the cockpit.

Just as we were heading back to the car ,we got to see one of the Chinooks from another part of the base taking to the sky. Despite the distance we could hear the rhythmic thump of the rotors and soon the mat-black beast (a Special Forces bird) came into clear view. The Chinooks always make me think of bumblebees, so humongous that they seemingly shouldn’t be capable of flight.

Chinook4

It was so much fun to see where my brother worked and to play on multimillion-dollar helicopters, but as we left the airfield, I was reminded that once he deploys there is an aspect of brutal reality to all of this. Those helicopters aren’t toys but weapons. The day was a chance for us to play and have fun with my brother’s family but it was also a sobering reminder to me that these war games aren’t really games. I feel so honored and privileged that my brother let us get a glimpse into his daily life and I’m committed to praying that much more for him and his fellow servicemen/women while they’re away from home serving our country.

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17 comments on “Playing Army at Fort Campbell

  1. Ariel
    May 8, 2014

    wow! Omg cuuute! I can’t believe she’s that big already :D. And your brother looks so much like your dad! lol I’m glad you had an awesome trip, those helicopters look amazing! Love You ❤

    • Audrey
      May 8, 2014

      She’s growing like a weed and so darn adorable! It really was such a wonderful trip, loved getting to spend time with the family. 🙂

  2. Angelia Sims
    May 8, 2014

    That is so cool and how cute is she??? My husband drove the Humvees in his Marine days. I can’t imagine it holding two! So nice of him to show you around and see them up close. We have an AFB not far and get to see them fly over on runs. I believe it is a Chinook, because it is way up in the sky and massive. 🙂

    • Audrey
      May 9, 2014

      Isn’t she just a doll?! She’s got my hubby wrapped around her finger.
      Oh boy, so you know the military life well. I bet you guys get to see some cool planes overhead now and again. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. storiesbywilliams
    May 9, 2014

    Wowee! Apaches, Blackhawks and Chinooks, oh my!

    • Audrey
      May 13, 2014

      No joke! I was thinking we might get to see some of the birds he works on but never expected that we would be able to really explore them. So cool…

      • storiesbywilliams
        May 13, 2014

        Now there’s a guy who I should be talking to. I have questions about avionics that I really need to get answered if I ever hope to be taken seriously as a writer. Know what I mean?

      • Audrey
        May 13, 2014

        Oh yeah! He’s shortly to deploy but I’m sure if you have any specific questions that I could forward them along. Some stuff is still classified though… I wasn’t allowed to take photos of the instrumentation in the cockpits when we were in the helicopters.

      • storiesbywilliams
        May 13, 2014

        Naw, just basic stuff. Like how it feels to get about in a chopper, or possibly to fly in a jet aircraft. I can describe pulling a multl-g turn empirically and guess what it feels like, but have no real idea.

      • Audrey
        May 15, 2014

        I’ve been in a civvy helicopter up in Alaska but I’m sure it’s not quite the same. I can ask! 🙂

      • storiesbywilliams
        May 13, 2014

        So… read any good books lately? 😉

      • Audrey
        May 15, 2014

        Not lately… I’m not sure when is the last time I got to sit down and read. Moving into a new position as work this month and it’s been crazy!

      • storiesbywilliams
        May 15, 2014

        Yeah, I know… you do have your copy though right? 🙂

      • Audrey
        May 15, 2014

        I do!! Maybe I can finally sit down with it during some camping trips this summer. 🙂

      • storiesbywilliams
        May 15, 2014

        Yaaaaaay!

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This entry was posted on May 8, 2014 by in Adventure, Family, Fun, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .
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