Emerald Empire Chapter

Military Officers Association of America


​              ...just for grins

The mission of the Emerald Empire Chapter of MOAA is to advocate for our military community and connect it to the nation we serve.

​We were heading home after a long deployment. The Operations Officer of the ice breaker I was on asked for an ice patrol to look for leads in the ice, so I fired up our trusty helicopter and put the Ops O in the left seat...since he was a certified “Ice Observer.”

After an hour of finding, charting and marking an easy path through the ice, we decided to return to the ship. Just as we straightened out from the turn, without any warning, the left cockpit window, (the one next to the Ops Officer), departed the aircraft and fell to the ice below. At first we were stunned… then we were cold. We immediately started a descent to find the window, but it must have found the same lead we had and disappeared from sight. The Ops O, a young but well-experienced ice breaker sailor, apologized every which way he could, but had no idea what he had done to cause the problem.

Upon close inspection of the window’s emergency release we could see that the copper “break-away” safety wire had stretched, allowing the release handle to turn just enough to release the window.

Our trusty helicopter had the handle located in a spot that had probably been kicked by every pilot and passenger who ever climbed in and out of that seat, we figured it was just its time to go.

No matter whose fault it was or wasn’t, the Ops O discovered upon his return that our flight mechanics had removed the door to his stateroom.

...It was not returned until our replacement window arrived two weeks later.