When we think of the ongoing war in Afghanistan, some of us envision Army Infantry or Marines trudging along with rifles and heavy packs, moving from one firebase to a village or jihadist outpost and back again.
But there are some typically unsung heroes of the war that deserve a bit of recognition: The pilots and crews of military helicopters that sometimes ferry troops in and out of combat zones, at times while taking fire and in some rather extreme locations.
For example, check out the following video shared by Funker 530 of a helicopter extraction from the top of a rocky mountain in Afghanistan.
The chopper, reportedly a Bell CH-146 Griffon flown by a Canadian crew, approached a small unit huddled together near the peak’s summit, awaiting their ride out.
With what must have required nerves of steel and an intimate understanding of his helicopter’s capabilities, the pilot swooped in next to the waiting troops to pick them up, but never actually touched down on the mountaintop.
Instead, the pilot carefully pulled alongside them, rotors spinning dangerously close to their heads, and held the craft steady as they loaded their gear, and perhaps even a wounded compatriot or two, into the hovering chopper, it’s skid only a foot or two away from the side of the rocky peak.
Once everyone and everything was on board — save for an unidentified piece of gear that went tumbling down the mountainside in the furious wash of the rotors — the helicopter resumed flight and transported the troops out of there.
This was nothing short of an incredible display of dexterity and skill on the part of the pilot, not to mention an absolute trust on the part of the waiting troops in the pilot of that craft.
We really don’t hear that much about these sort of amazing missions that probably take place for more often than we realize, or the incredible contributions that are made to the war effort in Afghanistan by not just the Canadian troops, but all the other allied units that are quietly fulfilling roles and performing their duties to little or no fanfare.
Hopefully the war in Afghanistan will draw to a conclusion in the near future, but until then, major props to the pilots and crews of the helicopters that swoop in and literally save the day for our men and women in uniform.
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