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Friday, December 9, 2022

How a Night Stalker pilot survived being shot down in Iraq and teamed up with Delta Force to go after the shooter | Business Insider

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The Night Stalkers, formed after the failures of Operation Eagle Claw, have participated in nearly every major military operation since their inception.

In 2004 it was accepted by a majority of observers that the military success experienced in Iraq during the previous year would not hold. The Iraqi Army had deteriorated and combatants from foreign countries had poured into the country where many US and Coalition troops were still based.

Joint Special Operations Command led a rapid counterterrorism campaign wherein SOF would engage targets on a nightly basis. The Night Stalkers were counted on for a large proportion of these operations.

In March of 2004, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Greg Coker and another Night Stalker were aboard an AH-6 on an unusual daytime mission over a Baghdad suburb. A shoulder launched projectile from an insurgent brought the helicopter down.

While the burning helicopter fell towards the ground, the pilots performed an autorotation maneuver which uses the air still flowing through the main rotor to land the aircraft as softly as possible. The helicopter rolled upon an impact and the leaking fuel meant no good things would come from being near it.

A search and rescue team consisting of a recon element of Delta Force’s B Squadron had made their way to the site of the crash. Coker and his copilot were lucky enough to survive every pilot’s worst nightmare and they even joined the Delta Force team on the raid of the house from which the offending missile was fired. In a highly unlikely sequence Coker actually killed the man who downed his helicopter.

Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/night-stalker-pilot-teamed-up-with-delta-force-in-iraq-2021-12

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