Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Marines strapped to Apache Helicopters

Four British Royal Marines strapped themselves to the wings of Apache helicopters and were flown back into a Taleban fort in Afghanistan in an attempt to rescue a missing colleague. In the end they found that the missing marine was dead.

The marines had taken part in an attack on a fort that had stalled and they had to retreat back across a river. When they regrouped they discovered one of their group was missing. Reconnaissance aircraft spotted him lying outside the fort but couldn't tell if he was alive or dead. The marines had to go back to get him but instead of launching another full assault Apache pilots suggested that they carry the marines across the river.
Dodging Taliban gunfire -- and with four marines lying across the wings in the manner of the heroes of the World War II film Flight of the Phoenix -- the two Apaches sped across the river and landed outside the Taliban fort. The marines unstrapped themselves and searched for Lance Corporal Ford. Having recovered his body, they strapped it to one of the Apaches and safely crossed the river.

That has to be one of the most amazing war stories I have ever heard.

[Update: 21-Jan-2007: footage of the flight can be found on the BBC website]

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