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As I flew over the village a few feet above the thatched roofs, bullets began pouring up at me. The sound was like a hammer hitting my helmet.

Geysers of plexiglass spouted upward as the bullets tore through the chin bubble between my feet. My gunner began to scream, "We're on fire" as he shoved the box of smoking hand grenades out the door.

We flew on with smoke from a cherry smoke grenade streaming out of the doors till I put the bird down in the elephant grass, very hard. We jumped out and hid in the tall grass for about 45 minutes till another helicopter crew pulled us out.

While we waited, I came to the terrifying conclusion that there were people all around us that really, really wanted to kill me. My outlook on life changed forever.

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