To these special operations members, Night Stalkers are about as close to God as you can get. In addition to other missions, not only will the Night Stalkers get them where they need to be, but they will also pick them up and take them back to the nearest FOB (Forward Operating Base).
These pilots are some of the most skilled in the military. They will fly anywhere and under any conditions to do their job, and do it safely.
Yes, Navy pilots launching and landing from a carrier requires a lot of skill and practice. Night Stalkers rank right up there in what is known as the pucker factor, often delivering and extracting special ops teams from rugged terain and/or under enemy fire, or participating in direct action engagements as well.
Think about this…a special ops team has just completed a mission behind enemy lines. Every enemy troop on the ground and in the air is scrambling around in a frenzy trying to figure out what just went down and looking and hunting for any soldier that speaks english as their first language.
Now picture yourself as one of those special ops members just trying to get out of there as fast as you can, and hopefully without having to engage the enemy in any numbers.
The enemy is not stupid either. You are on their turf. They are going to begin looking for possible exfil methods and points to prevent you from escaping. Time is critical on both sides.
Now imagine one of the other members of your team took a hit to the leg. You are all moving towards the rendevous point (RP) and you are spotted by an enemy patrol.
An engagement ensues as both sides open fire while continuing to move to the RP. Then you radio your friendly neighborhood Night Stalker and wait for them to fly in. While waiting, you are still keeping at a distance an enemy that will soon be reinforced, if it hasn’t already.
When those Night Stalkers make it over the exfil zone to pick you and your team up, greatful to see them and appreciative of the job they do is probably a huge understatement. These pilots are about as close to God as you can get when it is time to go back home, and I know they are treated with the utmost respect by those that hitch a ride in their helecopters.
Pictures used are from Wikipedia.