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Old 24th Jan 2007, 12:38
  #105 (permalink)  
MaroonMan4
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: East Anglia
Posts: 349
At last - someone is recognising that yes it was an incredible act of individual bravery but you just have to stop and think for a moment. We are led to believe that we are short of Apaches and AH aircrew, and also that an RSM/young officer were strapping themselves to the outside of the cockpit.
Just imagine the complete and utter fallout if (and if surprise was on their side, the laws of probability weren't) heaven forbid we had lost 2 Apache, plus crews and also the RSM - some of whom may have ended in orange boiler suits (I know not TB style, but you catch my drift) or being dragged through the streets of Gamisir Mogadishu style. And what if the subsequent recovery mission to these 'downed' AH crews had also lost lives as fighting patrol had to fight there way in and out back across the river.
I shudder at what could have been and although I do not question for one moment the bravery and these amazing flying skills and I would never pass judgement on anyones cockpit in the heat of battle.
But - lets learn from this episode. Is it really the way that UK plc wants to be doing business? Is this really the way that UK forces are rescued when things go wrong - if it is, then God help us as I think this particular AH JPR tactic back into the field of fire has just lost all of its nine lives.
Fundamentally, 'Tom' made a judgement call at that moment in time that both Senior Officers and the Media have provided positive spin. However, if it had gone wrong would 'Tom' have been supported or would his judgement or perceived 'wreckless' behaviour been all over the press.
I have said this again and again - this isn't about 'Tom' or the RSM or any of the operators - it is all about them being forced into that situation because there were no other options availible to him or those back in his HQ. He was forced to take those massive risks because of the lack of a suitable JPR/Immediate Combat Recovery plan, due mainly to lack of rotary wing assets. If , as reported, the CH47s were on another job (how many are out there!?!), then there are obviously too many tasks for the resources in theatre.
I reiterate, the huge risk that the Teenie Weenies and Royal Marines taken that day was a result as someone much further up the chain taking the whole lack of rotary support 'on risk' in the full knowledge that something like this was going to happen. If for one moment that the hierarchy believed that Afghanistan was not going to have a JPR scenario and the risk was acceptable needs to re-vist his/her risk register/matrix.
Armchair 20/20 is exactly what we want Artist, exactly what we want otherwise you can bet someone elses life that some Staff planner will pull this procedure out of the hat again and dare I say become a norm.
We need to acknowledge the individual acts of bravery (and I agree there is such a fine line) but we must identify, learnand apply every lesson that comes out of it other wise one day we will wake up to some horrendous/extremely sad news from theatre.

Last edited by MaroonMan4; 24th Jan 2007 at 13:57.
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