(You can catch up on part I here)

Brownout landings, in the most sterile sense, are still arguably the most dangerous intentional maneuver a helicopter pilot can perform. But the Night Stalkers practice them in the desert, at night, and wearing ANVIS-6 Night Observations Devices. That is equivalent to a trifecta of a compound fracture, a sucking ass-wound, and a shit sandwich with a warm glass of piss. Night Stalkers put enough brownout landing repetition behind them that one could say in confidence that they execute them with precision.

Greg linked up with two Delta men for the ground reconnaissance of the proposed training area. The three traveled in civilian clothes — their own civilian clothes that they had brought from home and that smelled of home. They snaked their way through the Oman desertscape of goat herds and camels, of the ocean and its beaches, of shanties and ruins.

They arrived at their destination and conducted a safety walk-down of the parcel, ensuring there were no dangers or safety concerns for the helos and the conductibility of live fire scunion operations. Above all other concerns was the suitability of the area for night brownout landings. An honest survey found that the site was indeed a contender for a location, if not the best choice.

They occasioned upon the sun-blanched carcass of a long-since decedent ocean-faring turtle. A simple skeleton was he, with a monstrous bleached shell nearly four feet across. The shell shone bright like the tombs of Evangeline, freshly scrubbed bright with lye, in anticipation of La Toussaint.

He lay there in all anomaly, non-sequitur in his distance from the sea, a riddle for certain of why he came to venture so far from his oceanic paradise. A mournful misfit who lost his way home and bowed to the elements for the balance of eternity. A sad yet beautiful thing — sadder yet was the fact that at a very minimum the great sea creature was nosed back toward the sea as if in the by and by understanding his error… only it was too late to correct it.

“My Lord, there must have been a monstrous tide change that day!” Chief speculated, judging the distance back out to the shoreline.