Sgt. Gennedy was outside smoking a cigarette as I pulled up. He saluted, and waved me over. I walked over, and lit a smoke myself.
“How is the aircraft?”
“It is good, I had the boys perform maintenance on the left engine. It appeared to be a leak there, but it is fine now, they are working on the right one now.”
“Is that all so far?”
“Nyet, the cockpit instruments are working properly, I checked them myself. Avionics will be looked at after the engine as well as structural items.”
At least he knew what to do.
“Good, how soon can you tell me the status?”
I saw the recognition in his eyes, he knew why, since I routinely ask before a mission. He smiled. “I can get it to you at 1600.”
Not good. “Perhaps 1530? Briefing is at 1600.”
“I will tell you status at that time, but of course you know how to go from there. Oh yes, they are about to test the engine, so I would perhaps smoke another cigarette.”
I nodded, he is also a good mentor for officers. Sometimes accurate information is important, but sometimes you also can get only so much. I waited until the noise of the afterburner died out, and heard the engine completely shut down. Sgt. Gennedy tossed his smoke in the butt can, and headed inside, and I followed. He was ahead of me, and clambered up the cockpit. He consoled with the crewman inside it and gave me a thumbs up. Good, I do not have to worry about engine problems. I patted the aircraft as I walked back to my office. The air was hot of course, due to the immense engines putting out so much heat. Closing the door, the air conditioning was a welcome treat to the day.
I heard jets taking off, and caught a glimpse of an A-10 taxiing to the takeoff runway. They are keeping busy nyet? I sometimes wished I was in a regular unit, because I would be busier. Maybe good, maybe bad I am not sure, but this sometimes dragged on. I am what they call sometimes a “busy body” I cannot stay un-busy or I will go nuts. Do not get me wrong, I would go to the Bahamas in a second if I could, but I liked staying busy. I checked anything that may have appeared on my desk. I sat back, and just waited a few minutes, thinking of what I needed to do. I was bored, so I took off my flight uniform, and put on my work uniform. I might as well check on my weapons, and see what I have. Just as I exited the door, another jeep came. It was Major Grachev, in his dress uniform. He routinely wore it due to the fact that he is a Flight Commander, and does not fly as often as we do. Part of Russian Air Force regulation too. He could fly as well as we could, and my father, before leaving, hinted at giving him his own aircraft, so as to snub his noses at the regulars here. However, there is only so much room, and we are cutting into the hangar space. However comrades, my father is a General, so he can make issues such as this not become an issue. He walked to Sgt. Gennedy, who pointed Major Grachev to me. I walked to him.
“Alekseyevich, yours and Dimitri’s munitions are here, the aircraft has landed. It is taxiing to the unloading point.”
He turned to Sgt. Gennedy. “Comrade Sergeant, I will need four of your strongest men to help unload this aircraft.”
Sgt. Gennedy knows how to make things happen, and all of a sudden, four of the strongest stood standing at attention.
“I will take two Alekseyivich, and you will of course take two as well.” He looked at his watch.
“It will be here in a few minutes, so we must leave now.”
Good time as any I thought as we walked to our vehicles, and entered them. The ride only took a couple minutes. The IL-76, named “Candid” by the NATO forces, lumbered over to as close it could get. The help we were to give to this aircraft was simply ground guiding. Perhaps we may have to unload some cartridge boxes for the GSh-301, but that is all. The other weapons are of course too heavy for a single man to life, and definitely four men were required. It parked, and the massive rear door opened, and a few large cargo vehicles exited, carrying strapped down boxes which by the lettering, were additional munitions. I saw more laser guided munitions than anti-radiation missiles, but that is okay, I still have enough for a few missions. Since the resupply schedule was scheduled to “surge” with our mission profile, it pretty much kept us well supplied. The GSh-301 ammunition is still delivered, even though we haven’t fired many rounds. I think Dimitri gunned a convoy truck or two. It is too tight in the mountains to be making too many gun passes and most of the air-to-air kills have been missiles. We unloaded what we had to, then guided the vehicles to where they needed to go. One thing I did notice was that another very noticeable aircraft was taxiing towards our hangar area. It was an Su-33 painted like ours! I became very curious, as it was turning into the hangar, in order to be pushed back into one of the hangars. I almost smashed my hand while watching this aircraft. I will have to ask Major Grachev when I can. The unloading took a couple of hours, but it was done. The preflight checks the mechanics had done were still incomplete so I cooled off by smoking a cigarette. Dimitri trotted over, a slip of paper in his hand.