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  • Alice McDermott
  • Interview by: Jess Boydon


So I'm getting airborne out of Baghdad at night

and there's a thick cloud layer

and the aircraft equipment picks up

that something has targeted us or looked at us

and then countermeasures go off.

So the aircraft pumps out all these bright, bright flares

that would sort of fool a missile

that they were the engine, not the aircraft,

so they all go in a pattern out from the aircraft.

But when that happens

and you're wearing night vision goggles,

you're suddenly blinded

because everything's so bright.

And there's nothing you can actually do

in that stage of flight just after takeoff

because the aircraft is in a critical stage of flight.

And so for a minute, it's not as long as a minute

but feels like a minute,

you have this momentary,

I'm just gonna have to wait

and see if everything's okay.

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