Wednesday, October 03, 2007

"Cut the chatter, Red Two."

The latest news concerning the whacked-out, soldier-of-fortune outfit Blackwater is this nice little anecdote: Back in 2004, a plane piloted by a couple of Blackwater employees crashed and killed everyone on board (including three U.S. soldiers).

"I swear to God, they wouldn't pay me if they knew how much fun this was," the doomed plane's cockpit voice recorder captured the pilot saying shortly before the November 27, 2004, crash.

The account of the crash emerged during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Blackwater's performance in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In its November 2006 report on the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that Blackwater provided insufficient oversight and guidance of the pilots involved in the 2004 crash. Dispatchers failed to ensure that pilots followed their flight plan and did not adequately track flights in the air.

The NTSB said the military "did not provide adequate oversight of the contract carrier's operations in Afghanistan."

The company's chairman, Erik Prince, appeared before the committee to defend the firm Tuesday.

The twin-engine CASA C-212, a light cargo plane operated by Blackwater sister company Presidential Airways, crashed in a box canyon well off its planned route from Bagram Air Base to the western Afghan town of Shindand.

"You're an X-wing fighter Star Wars man," an NTSB report quoted the plane's co-pilot, Loren Hammer, saying during the flight -- a reference to the dizzying battle in the 1977 film.

"You're [expletive] right. This is fun," the pilot, Noel English, responded.

About eight minutes later, the plane slammed into the wall of the canyon, which was flanked by ridgelines that rose nearly a mile above surrounding terrain.

To all those Star Wars fans who are also thinking of joining some outfit like this, do us a favor:

Get yourself an Xbox and stay the f&ck home!

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