Editor’s Note: We hope you enjoy this rare and candid interview with Night Stalker pilot Greg Coker conducted by Delta’s George Hand IV. — GDM

Greg, if you would please, can you describe your military progression up to and until such point that you decided to try out for and were accepted by the elite rotor-wing unit TF-160?

I came into the Army and served time with the 101st Air Assault. I applied for and was accepted to Flight School. I was able to return to the 101st this time in the capacity as a pilot. I eventually set my sights on the Night Stalkers. I was accepted and flew with them until my retirement.

Can you describe, please, your involvement with Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)?

As the story goes, I was shot down south of Fallujah by a surface-to-air missile while supporting a Delta Force combat patrol. My engine cut out immediately and I had to autorotate my aircraft to the ground. We had a sweet touchdown but we slid forward catching the skids on some rough terrain. We flipped end-over-end three time while burning. My copilot and were both hurt pretty good, but we picked up and formed a defensive position some 50 meters east of our smoking helo.

Some Delta boys in gun trucks came screaming up to protect us. They picked us up and asked us what we wanted to do from that point on. They already had a gun truck hammering the building where the launch came from. I told them I wanted to go after the bastard who shot me down; I was very unhappy about losing my gunship.

We climbed aboard and I took a machine-gun position immediately. All of us gun trucks were online abreast of each other screaming across the desert like angry bees headed for that building. It looked for all the world like we were filming a remake of the Rat Patrol. Two gun trucks got stuck in deep sand. An armored Pandur fighting vehicle from Delta came immediately and pulled the two truck out, all while under fire.

We stopped in good view of the building where the launch came from and hammered it viciously with non-stop machine-gun fire.

An enemy appeared on the roof talking on a phone. I laid waste to him knowing he was calling information to his buddies. Soon, two more of the enemy appeared on the roof; one with an RPG and one with an AK-47. I eliminated them with bitter prejudice. There was satisfaction to be gained that day, after all.