Red Flag 2003, The Summer Tour (August 31, 2003)
by Gary Emry

HIGHLIGHTS:

I arrived at Tikaboo Valley about 9 Wednesday morning, spotted Chuck Clark and BlackF150's vehicles on Coyote Summit (it's actually just a damn hill and not more than 1,000 feet higher than the ET Highway at that), just in time to join them and watch two C-130's droning along in the gap between the mountain and hill (slightly higher than Coyote) to the north of Coyote. Most of the action occurred TDH to see or take pictures but on egress after the game was over, was when a close up look at our tax dollars at work took place and those looks made all the standing around, straining to see something you could hear but not see, and the sunburn, all worth while, at least for me. Some of the planes would egress along the mountain ridge above Area 51, others would return to Nellis above the mountains to the north and the B-1's I saw flew directly overhead. There were others however, Harriers, Tornados, AMX's, F-15's, and F-16's, flown by pilots from the US, Britain, Italy and Germany, that flew over Coyote so low, you could see how well the pilot brushed his teeth that morning. And once they roared over our heads and continued east, they ducked down even closer to the ground. INCREDIBLE!!

Thursday morning, 2 Harriers went directly over us, F150 was hollering and waving, Chuck and Lone Wolf were busily snapping away, and I was frantically fumbling with my digital Kodak. I turned back to the West and found myself looking (it seemed like) directly into the eyes of a pilot of a F-16 that was silently zooming at us at 600 MPH. A second later, his TFR raised the nose of the plane slightly and it was no longer silent. I nearly went into cardiac vaporlock!!

Wednesday afternoon we were treated to the sight of an F-15 playing the role of a MIG-29 going through the gap between the North mountain and the hill on the north side of the highway with 2 Tornados REAL HOT on his tail.

It seemed like most of the Italian AMX's preferred to egress to the south, especially above the mountains that surround Area 51. Probably sneaking a few surreptitious snaps of THE BASE for their paisons.

I SAW only 2 B-1's and that was Thursday morning. A few minutes later, we HEARD at least 1 B-1 when a double sonic boom that echoed off the hills, mountains and my teeth and spine for at least 2 seconds, assualted us. I could feel the slap of air on my face! The second double sonic boom was probably courtesy of a F-15 escorting the B-1. I never saw either of the usual suspects.

Wednesday night on Coyote, Lone Wolf and I were treated to 1 of BlackF150's famous desert repasts. All I can say is it was a real weiner! The Weapons School events began around 8:30 or 9 when it got totally dark and the bloodshot eye of the god of war was watching. I never heard any of the planes at night. They would leave Nellis and fly along the top of the North mountains on their way to the TTR, dropping. All I could see was the swarm of silent, blinking dots of light, dropping flares occasionaly. When they reached TTR, I could see the flashes of light when they dropped live bombs, only about a dozen in total. Half of those were REAL BIG bombs that lit up the Southwestern horizon when they detonated. Thursday night, Lone Wolf, BlackF150 and I watched the Weapons School games from the Gravel Parking area about 2 miles east of the Mailbox Road until about 1:30 in the morning. We watched the show and laughed so hard my face still hurt Friday morning. What a bunch of BAWA's (BigAssWhistleAsses){you had to have been there})!!!

MANY sincere thanks to Chuck Clark, the oracle of Rachel. The man possesses a store of knowledge about EVERYTHING and is so generous about sharing that knowledge.

LOWLIFES:

The people who own the C store in Ash Springs who charged me $7 for a 6 pack of Budweiser Diet Beer and $8 for a 6 pack of Smirnoff's Ice. Also, the blaring billboards on the northern outskirts of Welles, Nevada that hawk Donna's Ranch and Bella's Gentlemen's Club, where(I am told) a gentleman can get his weasle greased for a sum.
*Sigh*
Only in Nevada!


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