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Combat Ops in Afghanistan

SQNLDR Ben Pryor in the cockpit of an RAF Chinook helicopter - Camp Bastion, Helmand Province, Afghanistan
SQNLDR Ben Pryor in the cockpit of an RAF Chinook helicopter - Camp Bastion, Helmand Province, Afghanistan

SQNLDR Ben Pryor was recently seconded to the Royal Air Force on exchange and attached to No. 18 Squadron RAF for a 3-year tour.

Our exchange with No. 18 Sqn includes regular deployments to Afghanistan with the Chinook detachment of the UK Joint Helicopter Force, based in Camp Bastion, Helmand Province.

When on detachment the provision of one Immediate Response Team (IRT) aircraft on permanent standby for Casualty Evacuation (Casevac) sorties is the highest priority. But the Chinook detachment also conducts operations as necessary to support the NATO counter-insurgency campaign.

Flying on Immediate Response missions can be some of the most dynamic and challenging flying that you could ever wish for, in some of the most hostile areas of Afghanistan.

From point-of-injury through to rehabilitation, the standard of medical care provided to injured UK soldiers in Afghanistan is considered to be second-to-none for deployed personnel. The number of soldiers who have survived life-threatening injuries is the best in recorded history and testament to the expertise and bravery of the medical staff, and the quality of the assets available for critical medical care.

One essential air-power element in this vital medical chain is undoubtedly the Casevac helicopter, and the IRT Chinook provides a tremendous capability.

Read his full report in the latest Air Force News. [Issue 149, July 2013]

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