19 photos show how aircraft servicemembers have the most unique office views

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Sgt. Zach Smola, rear door gunner on a CH-47, keeps watch on the mountains in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan, May 12, 2013. The Chinooks, operated by members of Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 104th Aviation Regiment from the Connecticut and Pennsylvania Army National Guard, have played a vital part in the mission in Afghanistan since their arrival in December 2012 by performing resupply, retrograde, and planned missions.
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Sgt. Jessi Ann McCormick/US Army

When you’re aboard a military-grade fixed or rotary-winged aircraft, you’re most likely out on a mission and won’t always have time or the inclination to take in some of the scenic views.

Whether they’re giving medical aid during a “dustoff,” or providing suppressing fire from a gunship, crewmembers from a variety of aircraft can have one of the most hazardous jobs in the military – which is why some of the following scenes can only be experienced from this exclusive group.

We’ve compiled 19 photos of just a glimpse of the conditions that some of these crewmembers operate in.

An earlier version of this article was written by David Choi.


A US Marine Corps crew chief scans for insurgent activity during a general support flight over Helmand province, Afghanistan.

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Cpl. Isaac Lamberth/US Marine Corps

The reflection of the Black Forest fire can be seen from a Colorado National Guard crew chief’s helmet in a US Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter near Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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Capt. Darin Overstreet/US Air Force

A ‘Bambi Bucket’ attached to a Texas National Guard CH-47 dumps water on a blaze nearing a structure at Bastrop, Texas.

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Staff Sgt. Malcolm McClendon/US Army

A US Marine surveys San Clemente Island, California in search of a landing zone.

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Gunnery Sgt. Robert B. Brown/US Marine Corps

Soldiers assigned to the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) conduct a jump demonstration from a C-130 Hercules during the Japanese-American Friendship Festival at Yokota Air Base, Japan.

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Senior Airman Michael Washburn/USAF

A soldier from the US Army’s 1st Cavalry Division hovers 75 feet above the ground from a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter during a medevac exercise.

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Sgt. Travis Zielinski/US Army

A crew chief from the US Marine Corps prepares to engage targets from a UH-1Y Venom above San Clemente Island, California.

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Sgt. Jamean Berry/US Marine Corps

A US Marine engages simulated targets from a UH-1Y Venom above San Clemente Island, California.

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Sgt. Jamean Berry/US Marine Corps

A US Army soldier provides aerial security from the rear door of a CH-47 Chinook over the Khost province, eastern Afghanistan.

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US Department of Defense

A US Marine Corps crewmaster observes a F/A-18C Hornet approaching a refueling hose near Royal Australian Air Force Base Tindal, Australia.

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Cpl. Nicole Zurbrugg/US Marine Corps

A US Marine Corps crew chief aboard a UH-1Y Venom approaches a landing zone during a training exercise near Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

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Lance Cpl. Aaron K. Fiala/US Marine Corps

US Marines assigned to Force Reconnaissance Platoon, Maritime Raid Force, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), conduct a high altitude low opening (HALO) jump during training in Louisburg, North Carolina.

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Cpl. Andre Dakis/US Marine Corps

Soldiers and airmen from five NATO nations parachute from a C-130J Hercules over the Alzey drop zone in southwestern Germany during International Jump Week.

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Staff Sgt. Shawn Weismiller/US Air Force

A US Marine Corps UH-1Y Venom helicopter flies over the desert dunes en route to the Chocolate Mountain Aerial Gunnery Range.

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Cpl. Uriel Avendano/US Marine Corps

The rear-gunner in a Sikorsky UH-53 observes a Afghanistan-Uzbekistan railroad stretch into the distance.

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Petty Officer 1st Class Mark O’Donald/US Navy

US Marines and sailors in the Basic Reconnaissance Course practice helocasting at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado in San Diego, California.

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U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl Orrin Farmer/Released

A US Army National Guard rear door gunner on a CH-47 keeps watch over the mountains in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan.

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Sgt. Jessi Ann McCormick/US Army

US Marines provide aerial security over Helmand province, Afghanistan.

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Sgt. Gabriela Garcia/US Marine Corps

A US soldier from the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) salutes while jumping out of a C-130 Hercules over a drop zone in Germany.

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Visual Information Specialist Jason Johnston/US Army