On the 15th of December, I was in Keningau clocking my last resupply operation for the border outposts in Sabah for 2008 before my Christmas leave commenced. I was with my veteran crewman Warrant Officer I Ali, awaiting Capt Ian and the gang to fly in from Labuan en route to our technician's wedding in Ranau, supposedly to change over the copilot I was with as he had to return to complement the crew for Tawau's standby.
"Sir, others can say what they want about the Nuri. They can insult us Nuri crew for flying a 40-year old aircraft, the press can make fun of us for our crashes, but when it comes to the years of service, her contributions and deeds and the lives she has saved, they cannot recount her numbers."
Well, when this buy comes to pass, if ever it does in my lifetime, it will only be a matter of time before the risks we take in the interest of national security once again end in undesired fatality, and the public whom we serve in quiet can once again hail our helicopters "flying coffins".