From the Soldier side: OK, I realized that before I can tell this story, I have to help you understand what it was like flying in a CH 46. First of all, they ARE NOT a CH 47. The CH47 is a newer and bigger craft. The CH 46 was built in the 60's. The Marines, being very Conservative, don't waste a thing...they keep rebuilding them over and over and keep flying them.
The ones I flew on in Iraq were set up for hauling troops and some cargo. They had a .50 cal machine sticking out the window---kind of reminded me of the B-17s in "12 O'clock High".
To duplicate the effect of riding in one of these things, try this at home:
Take two old style washing machine--not the new quiet front loaders, but one of the old Maytag top loaders. Load it with bricks, and nuts and bolts...make sure it's out of balance. You need to have two of these machines, because the CH 46 has a rotor in the front and back.
Make sure both washing machines are out of balance, to help this, remove one of the legs. Now, strap an old lawn chair on top, with a seat belt.
Set both washing machines on "SPIN" cycle, but at different times, so they are not spinning at the same speed.
Now, have a friend of family member start dropping old engine parts from the garage on the ground. At some point, this contraption should start lifting off the ground. OH. You say it shouldn't fly. No shit...helicopters are not supposed to fly. But, some how this POS gets off the ground...and shaking like Elvis with a hangover.
The entire time you're in the air, the machines will be rattling, and thrashing, trying to tear themselves apart.
When you eventually land, the crew chief will get out, look around and wonder how the POS keeps flying. He'll shine his flash light at some things, then get back in and tell the guys flying the POS that it looks OK.
Now, add to this...they stop and pick up some TCN's (Third Country Nationals) who've never flown on a chopper before. As the POS lifts off, one of the TCNs sitting next to you lets go with his bladder and pees all over the seat and floor. You will say: "Wow, I didn't know a human could hold that much pee!"
Then you get up and move to another seat and let the TCN sit in his pee. The expression of: "It scared the piss out of him" is true.
Now, add to this excitement....the Marines like to fly at night! Are you scared of the dark? Then don't fly with the Marines. That's how they rolled.
Now that you sort of got the feeling, I'll get on with the story....later.