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Lessons From The Cockpit

Aug 4, 2022

Welcome to another episode of the Lessons from the Cockpit podcast and our series on the Battle of Roberts Ridge and Operation Anaconda.

Arriving in Saudi Arabia on my wife's birthday in 2002, I jumped right into running a team of air refueling professionals. In mid-February, all of us in the Prince Sultan Combined Aerospace Operations Center were hearing about some snake-like operation. Because my Air Refueling Control Team had just accomplished two big "science projects" we felt good. Nobody was ready for what happened. This episode is my Air Operations Center view of what happened in March 2002 in Afghanistan's Shaia Kot Valley, the Place of Kings in Pashtun. There were a LOT of lessons learned after Anaconda applied to planning the upcoming invasion of Iraq. 

 Lessons from the Cockpit podcast is supported by Wall Pilot, custom aviation art for the walls of your home, office, or hanger. These extremely detailed profile illustrations are printed on vinyl to peel off and stick to any flat smooth surface. Ready-to-Print graphics are available at

A four, six, or eight-foot long print of the F-15E Anaconda Squeeze Play callsign TWISTER 52 participating in Roberts Ridge is available at Wall Pilot.

A similar print of the F-16CG CLASH 71 supporting the Battle of Roberts Ridge can be purchased at Wall Pilot also.

A print of a B-1 bomber Mr. Bones can also be found in the Ready-to-Print section of Wall Pilot.

 The book Alone at Dawn by Dan Schilling tells USAF Combat Controller and Medal of Honor winner TSgt John Chapman's story which is being made into the movie Combat Controller is available on Amazon.

Lt Col Pete Blaber's terrific book The Mission, The Men and Me about his exploits as a Delta Force operator is also available on Amazon.

My book Tanker Pilot; Lessons from the Cockpit has several chapters on Operation Anaconda.

Thanks for listening and look forward to the fifth Roberts Ridge episode next week as the pilot from the Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment or SOAR flying MH-47 Chinook RAZOR 3 tells his incredible story of inserting MAKO 30 atop Takhur Ghar mountain.

Please download and share this and previous episodes of the Lessons from the Cockpit podcast with friends and family found at