Lifeline in Helmand: RAF Front-Line Air Supply in Afghanistan, by Roger Annett was originally published in November 2010, but is now available as an Ebook on www.Amazon.com and www.Amazon.co.uk.
When it was launched at the RAF Club by now Air Vice Marshal Atha he said ‘that it deserved to be recommended reading for all RAF personnel going on an Op HERRICK detachment.’
The book tells the story of the RAF tactical transport force operating in one of the most dangerous regions in the Afghanistan campaign – Helmand province. The Chinook helicopters of 1310 Flt fly heavy-lift and trooping missions to remote Forward Operating Bases and in direct support of Deliberate Ground Operations. They are complemented by the mass air-drop capability of the Hercules transports of 904 Expeditionary Air Wing, RAF.
The book follows ‘C’ Flight of 27 Sqn from RAF Odiham as it prepares for another three-month deployment to Helmand manning 1310 Flt, under the command of NATO, within the International Security Assistance Force, ISAF. The narrative joins ‘C’ Flight on winter-flying training in the Scottish Highlands, before following them to the battleground on the air bridge transports from RAF Brize Norton. It then tracks them through their operational tour. There are first-hand accounts from air and ground crews, client Royal Marine Commandos and in-theatre helicopter support units, as well as from Hercules pilots on detachment from RAF Lyneham, and men of 47 Air Despatch Squadron. There are detailed depictions of sorties in support of ground operations, and of life-saving casualty evacuation missions with teams of medics and nurses.
The author describes the tortuous historical background to today’s conflict, and eye-witnesses contribute their personal viewpoints on the campaign together with many dramatic photographs from the front line. The whole adds up to a fitting tribute to elite British units facing the horrors and deprivations of war in a far-off corner of a troubled land.
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