by Richard Sheffield
You've finally made it. You busted your hump for two months in basic training, you showed superior leadership skills in Warrant Officer Development, and they still are talking about you at the Army Aviation Center in Ft. Rucker, Alabama. You were a natural helicopter pilot, the first to solo, and you graduated tops in your class. Training in the AH-1 Cobra was exciting, but you wanted more. And now you've got it—orders to a unit to fly the AH-64A, the pinnacle of Army aviation.
Now it's back to school again, but this is no ordinary school; this is probably the most exciting school in the world—Gunship Academy. This is your Academy textbook and with it you learn the ins and outs of your Apache Gunship, how to fly it in combat, and how to fight and win with it.
In Gunship Academy, we take first things first. Initially, you'll learn about the Apache, its weapon systems, and helicopter aerodynamics. Once you are ready to fly, you'll be guided through a series of progressively harder tutorials designed to teach the basic skills you'll need to survive on the modern battlefield. Following that, advanced attack helicopter tactics and strategy will be covered, including air-to-air combat and defensive plans. You'll learn to strike deep behind enemy lines, where it hurts the enemy the most, and live to brag about it and be decorated. Want to win the Congressional Medal of Honor? You'll learn what it takes and the skills necessary to garner the nation's highest award.
So you had better get started, because things are heating up in Western Europe. Soviet T-74 Main Battle Tanks and BMPs are racing across the German border, and the Hind helicopters are as thick as flies. Arab extremists are attacking in the Middle East, Cuban-backed forces are expanding in Central America, and things are still a mess in Southeast Asia. They need you at the front as soon as possible. So strap on your IHADSS helmet and wind up your engines. Dust off is in five minutes!