A LOMAC Mission Report: The Great Escape Page 10

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"I am friendly, I am Russian! Hold fire!"I must call my friends.

I will use GUARD, they will be listening in case one of them is shot down. I use the call sign given me by the American A-10 squadron.

“Allied aircraft, allied aircraft, this is Snowbird! This is Snowbird in Syrian aircraft! I am friendly, I am Russian! Hold fire!”

“Lead! It is Sacha! Sacha lives!”

Vasily lets out an ear-splitting whoop even I can hear without the radio.

Vasily lets out an ear-splitting whoop even I can hear without the radio.

“Snowbird, Enfield 1-1. Climb to 2000 and set course 000. We will monitor your ascent; please do not deviate.”

In my mirrors, I can see another flash. I know those clipped tones. They are Canadian CF-18 fighters, from Gudauta. I rocket off the runway and pull up gear, and see the CF-18s settling onto my wings as I stabilize at the required altitude. I wave at them. My friends, my friends! I am so happy to see you!

And the Americans… they are not done yet.

In my mirrors, I can see another flash.

“Snowbird, Colt 1-1. A little present for you.”

"Snowbird, Colt 1-1. A little present for you."

"Sacha, they have taken out the tower! “Sacha, they have taken out the tower! Such impertinence, these Americans!”

Vasily is laughing.

“Quiet, Vasily. Snowbird, this is 788. Welcome home, young falcon.”

My eyes fill with tears. My friends, they have come for me! I am safe as a babe in its mother’s arms now with them, these Americans, Canadians, Vasily and my Commander. I am going home! I set BO3B return mode and lock onto the Sochi beacon.

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