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Combat Story

Oct 25, 2020

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This is the Combat Story of JT Snow, a long time and quintessential AH-64 Apache gun pilot. 

JT is a Chief Warrant Officer 4 (Retired) who flew over 5,000 flight hours, including 2,000 hours in combat across four deployments: two to Iraq and two to Afghanistan. 

From the cockpit, he supported conventional and U.S. and coalition special operations forces during intense engagements, often pioneering new tactics and technologies to lethal effect.

He finished his career as a Task Force (Battalion) Standardizations Pilot (SP) during two year-long combat deployments, where he was the Task Force's senior Pilot responsible for the standardization and execution of combat operations for all assigned to the Task Force, which included OH58D, CH47F, UH60L and AH64D aircraft. 

JT's children followed in his footsteps, including fighting from inside the cockpit as the next generation of aviator.
Show Notes:

3:13 - Flight school and wanted guns and got Cobras and then went into A Model Apaches the very next day.
4:16 - Why JT chose gun ships?
6:43 - Gun choice between JT and Mark Beechum.
11:17 - What was the Apache mission from the beginning?
18:28 - When JT felt he was a part of the brotherhood.
26:05 - A description of what garrison life life is like in a flight unit.
28:23 - JT’s experience on 9/11 and the fear of missing the war.
32:28 - Stanley Pebsworth and Not a Good Day to Die.
33:13 - How officers (commissioned and warrant) homestead in Aviation units.
34:07 - JT describes his deployment cycles: Iraq Oct 2003.
36:56 - JT describes being the BN SP when the unit received MTADS and advanced FLIR.
38:38 - Aviation as an inherently dangerous job. When did JT first realize that.
41:44 - JT being three steps ahead. How did you develop your ability to get ahead of the aircraft.
44:03 - By the 3rd deployment, JT was at the top of his game.
47:03 - Description of JT’s first flight in combat. Took place in Samara as JT was the Company SP.
55:35 - JT describes what’s going on in his mind after his first engagement.
56:47 - What was the toughest deployment and engagement.
58:37 - JT describes his experience in the cockpit during the worst engagement of his career.
59:43 - JT and co-pilot Adam Marik discussing what to do in the cockpit.
61:13 - “Adam, are you okay getting in between where the bad guys are and the Chinooks...”
1:01:58 - “Only time I’ve ever been scared in the cockpit.”
1:04:06 - Ground forces took an RPG to the face.
1:06:20 - F-15 popping flares without coordination at 700’.
1:09:39 - Recollection of a vehicle hit by an IED and what happened.
1:10:21 - The second deployment for JT to Afghanistan was with the Australian SAS doing a lot of deliberate operations.
1:16:52 - Any gear I had to have with me. Two good luck charms: a half broken Budweiser bottle opener; the other was a St. Michael card given to him by a Chaplain that JT’s son took to Mosul. JT also carried a folded American flag on all four deployments that his son took with him.
1:18:24 - The next chapter of JT’s life where JT steps out of the cockpit and then his son goes to the same war zone that JT fought in.
1:24 - Conversations between JT and his son before he deployed to get him prepared.
1:24:38 - Would you do it all again?
1:26:34 - JT critiquing himself over a mission in which JT and I responded to our base being under attack.
1:27:49 - Near mid-air collision. He almost lost me for a minute.