Most people think of pilots as being those sharply dressed cap wearing gentlemen who shuttle the general public across the globe in huge aircraft. But these fine folks make up just a portion of professional pilots. There are other varieties.

Quite some time ago I read a wonderful novel, Asgaard by D. Alan Johnson. It was set in Africa and to a large extent covered the activities of a group of men known as Private Military Contractors. These essentially are private citizens under the employ of the US government. I was quite surprised to discover that D. Alan Johnson is indeed an aviator who has been a PMC since 1986.

Cutting his teeth with involvement in the Iran Contra project, he has subsequently been involved in several theaters of operation. The war on drugs, and the war on terror, these are his wars!

More recently Dorcey Wingo published his memoir The Rise And Fall Of Captain Methane. Dorcey was a chopper pilot in Vietnam, and from there headed into many different projects in many different countries.

I guess you could call me a professional reader and based not on what was said, but rather what was not said. Dorcey Wingo clearly spent some time in similar circles to Dave Johnson.

I knew that getting them together on a radio program would be a wonderful adventure. This pair of desperado’s have much in common, Dorcey preferred flying choppers but did on occasion resort ti Fixed wing aircraft, Dave is a fixed wing guy, but just happens to have a rotor craft license.

Both have spent time operating as PMC’s and also in the Oil and Gas exploration world.

This was one of the most enjoyable radio programs I think I have ever hosted. These gentlemen have proverbially ‘been there and done that’.

I was very lucky to get Dave Johnson to join us. He is currently on assignment, for security and safety reasons the location is unknown. That is the reason for the less than stellar audio quality on the recording. I can say this though, the major news agencies do not mention D. Alan Johnson, but they certainly have been reporting on the operation that he is actively involved in.

Later in the program I pointed out to Dorcey Wingo that his book contained veiled references to his PMC career, and asked why he did not share more. His answer was short and to the point.

I talked about what I could talk about!

Ouch! As an interviewer this obviously caught my attention. I have wondered for a long time why PMC’s exist, why doesn’t the military use their own personnel? Many movie makers and authors have used the phrase ‘plausible deniability’, this roughly translates to ‘if you get caught we don’t know you’.

Based n the responses that Dorcey and Dave had, I think that there are indeed elements of truth in this.

A private aircraft with three or four civilian passengers landing at some no-name airstrip does not raise an eyebrow, a C-130 full of armed combat troops is not quite as inconspicuous!

If you missed the live broadcast you can catch the recording here.

Simon Barrett

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