display | more...

We were out on a short cruise just off of the San Diego beaches. As the helicopter air detachment, it was our job on this mini tour to get the detachment up to speed on the USS Ingersoll, a Spruance-class destroyer, and for the shoes to get used to us Airedales.

The det is sitting around because the bird is off doing some maneuvers and coordinating with the boat until we get word that it's coming in to get some more fuel and to get one of the systems re-coded because it's been dropping whenever the bird lands on the deck. I'm the Guy in charge of running out to enter the electronic codes, and I have my code gun in my hot little hands.

The gent who runs the fire team in case the helo has a hard landing calls us over while we're waiting. We can hear the helicopter coming in on final approach.

"Since you're all technically on the fire team, you should all know where the fire supressant is activated on the flight deck. There are several places to activate it and this is the one we use." The large, well-muscled bald gent flips open a metal box on the wall. "To get it to work, all you have to do is ignore the do not touch this button unless there is a flight deck fire message plastered on the inside and outside of the door and press this button."

Our sleepy LPO, the non-commissioned dude in charge of all helicopter maintenance, reached up and pressed the button just as the helicopter landing gear touches the deck.

Alarms. Everyone's stunned. Christmas in July on the flight deck.

The deck nozzles and fire supression system emit huge volumes of foam. The flight deck folks are trying to get the chains and chocks on the helo so it doesn't fall off the boat. The pilot and copilot see chunks of foam sucked into the engines and do a fast shutdown of the turbines which are already struggling from ingesting the oxygen-depleting bubbles. 

Meanwhile, everyone is staring at the LPO as it finally dawns on his sleep-deprived face that he just did something dumb. Really dumb. Which is a shame because he's actually a really good egg and is sharp most of the time. All he remembers is the press this button command. So he did.

Well, we go home because they can't do the workups with a giant helo sitting dormant on the flight deck. We do a double engine swap and gave the helo a good wash job

Why listed as fiction?