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23 DFCs

Old 26th Mar 2015, 17:36
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23 DFCs

41,000 hrs, 13,000 casualties and 23 DFCs.

The RAF Chinook Force Is Coming Home From Afghanistan

(Link edited, thanks, MPN11)

Last edited by chinook240; 26th Mar 2015 at 18:26.
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Old 26th Mar 2015, 18:21
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Does this work as a link?

The RAF Chinook Force Is Coming Home From Afghanistan

Outstanding work, Wokkas.
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Old 26th Mar 2015, 21:48
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Tells you all you need to know about where the 'front line' was in that war; add in the AH & other RW types DFCs (not mention AFCs & MiDs) and you truly see what a helicopter war it was.

Honoured & privilidged to have flown with several of the recipients. Welcome home and you'd better get a parade.....
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Old 27th Mar 2015, 06:24
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Since the change to the medal designations under John Major's government, how many gallantry awards - GM, DFC, QGM for example have gone to SH rear crew? Please ignore, for the purposes of this query, AFCs etc for SAR rear crew.

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Old 27th Mar 2015, 07:01
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Well done guys and welcome home
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Old 27th Mar 2015, 07:10
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Well done fellas - RESPECT

The hours flown and medals awarded do not come as a surprise but that casualty figure is jaw dropping.
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Old 27th Mar 2015, 08:38
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Let's not get too carried away - this was not the Battle of Britain and we (thankfully) didn't lose a single crew.

Have a thought for those on the ground who really were in constant danger - where so many came home with life-changing injuries. Any of those in the SH force?

You ought to listen to comments from other arms about the distribution of medals.... is offline  
Old 27th Mar 2015, 08:58
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Crab - are you for real?

If you bother to read some of the DFC citations you'll see just how close to being casualties some of those crews were. Lives on the line in valiant attempts to get those wounded soldiers back to the care they needed to save their lives. Of course, the crews themselves would be the last to tell you all about it.

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Old 27th Mar 2015, 09:07
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I'll bite Crab. Having been on the ground with the 'other arms' and called in Tricky, Pedro, Ugly and all the others to come get us out of the dwang on numerous occasions, then I can tell you that the 'other arms' had nothing but praise for all* the aircrew that assisted us.

*Maybe not the Moltens who dropped us way off target but they were let off when they picked us up......
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Old 27th Mar 2015, 09:48
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Unchecked - if getting shot at in Afghan was the requirement for a medal then every soldier on patrol would have a chestful.

I'm not showing a lack of respect for the SH force, just trying to keep the chest beating in perspective.

Out of interest, how many DFCs did the AH force get awarded by comparison? is offline  
Old 27th Mar 2015, 10:33
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13,000 casualty uplifts? I'm not denying the number but there must more than British casualties lifted.

p.s crab. 2 VC's, 4 GC's, 36 DSO's, 33 CGC's, 194 MC's

Last edited by Hempy; 27th Mar 2015 at 10:43.
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Old 27th Mar 2015, 10:36
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User:Necrothesp/List of recipients of the Distinguished Flying Cross (United Kingdom), 1948?present - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Old Duffer - if you take a look at the list of DFC awards on the link, you will see that all of the RAF recipients have been officers, the only NCO recipients being from the AAC. I am unfamiliar with the make up of Chinook crews, but I am assuming rear crews will be exclusively NCOs, so the assumption is that only pilots (probably aircraft captains) have been getting DFCs. (The list only goes up to 2012 so there may be more recent awards to NCOs that I am not aware of.) 'Twas ever thus, in WW2 the ratio of DFCs/DFMs was over three to one, in spite of the numerical superiority of NCO aircrew over commissioned.

Speaking realistically, in most cases it's a crew effort, and if there's one medal going, the captain's going to get it. After all, if it all goes wrong it's his (or her) neck that's on the block.

crab - taking your general point about the disparity in awards between ground and air forces, once again this was also the case in WW2, with the numbers of DFCs/DFMs exceeding the number of MCs/MMs awarded, in spite of the numerical superiority of the army over the RAF. Incidentally you can also check the link to answer your question about army recipients of the DFC
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Old 27th Mar 2015, 10:48
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Ok I'll bite too Crab. Your previous comments on here about SH lead me to the belief that you have a fundamental lack of knowledge about SH, a lack of knowledge about JHC, lack of knowledge of operations and a disdain for anything rotary not yellow.

I'm led to believe from colleagues and friends who knew you on SAR that you are not quite the weapons grade tool and Internet troll that you normally come across as on PPRuNe, in fact most said that you were 'usually' ok.

You could extrapolate your crass comment across to what the rest of the RAF might have thought every time we read in Pravda about yet another AFC awarded for a long range SAR op in bad weather......if you were childish and pathetic. However most of us acknowledge the respect due for trying operations in challenging circumstances, bit like the SH force (and others of course) in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Let them have their moment to pause and reflect on a successful but trying period and go back to where you belong and are truly in your comfort zone: bitching and moaning about civilian SAR on PPRuNe
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Old 27th Mar 2015, 10:57
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23 DFCs

SimonK, well said.
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Old 27th Mar 2015, 11:22
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It shows how easy we had it in other times. Back in the '70s I was on SH and sported a GSM with bars for South Arabia and Northern Ireland (before it became bloody) and a UN medal for Cyprus. These guys now are REALLY working for their pay. Well done to all, front and back crews.
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Old 27th Mar 2015, 13:29
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Crab, you can't get out of an SH helicopter and take cover, your sat in a nice big target for incoming.

To the guys and girls who fly SH, you have a magnificent record and with the MERT you have contributed in order of 97% survivability of those injured both military and civilian, everything from a twisted ankle to soldiers with injuries on the order of Cpl Ben Parkinson. The legacy left by the aircrew and medical teams of such improved care is amazing and on going. In the words of Squadron Leaders Charlie Thompson-Edger and Fiona McGlynn both PMRAFNS, 'what we do is provide morale to the ground forces as they know if they are injured we will come and get them. Charlie Thompson-Edger has just been awarded the ARRC for her work in developing MERT to what you see today and also in developing post trauma mental health. A friend works with C T-E, she said she is the most unassuming person you could meet, and is embarrassed by all the publicity.

Anything like this is a team effort.
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Old 27th Mar 2015, 14:30
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I don't post much on here but I am a bit surprised at your comment. For what it's worth I was privileged to be crewed with SSgt Bertie Banfield as part of Gazelle Flight on Telic 1 in 2003 with 663 Sqn AAC for which he as awarded the DFC after multiple missions in contact with a determined enemy at low level. In 2012 I was lucky enough to fly AH on Herrick 15/16 during which time I witnessed the courage of professionalism of the Chinook crews.

After the Iraq experience I must admit I felt a certain empathy with them flying into hostile areas at low level in unarmoured helicopters. I certainly don't take anything away from those AH crews that have been awarded gallantry medals for their undoubted courage but for the majority of the time flying an Apache at 2000' above Helmand is probably one of the safest places to be! In fact I'd go as far to say that most AH pilots are quite keen for the enemy to take a pop at them because we can turn around and very quickly hit back hard (as the Taliban found to their cost early on in the campaign). Not so in other aircraft types.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that, to me, 23 DFCs genuinely is a reflection of the danger that the Chinook Force (and Lynx, Sea King, Pedro etc) faced - a record that they can be justifiably proud of. I've yet to meet the infanteer that would disagree.

All the best

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Old 27th Mar 2015, 16:22
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I know what it must have been like now being in the next office to me - good rant!!

I've had the pleasure of flying with crab, briefly, and can confirm he's highly professional - but understandably a bit bruised as his way of life has been sold off to the lowest bidder so I'm prepared to cut him some slack.

Crab - I see your point: I have the utmost of respect for those I watched 'walk out the door' or run off my ramp. Heaven knows where we find such people in this country nowadays but thank God they still exist. Immense courage, and doing it for each other - not for Blair, Brown or Cameron. We did get some people hurt, at least one Chinook pilot has been invalided out due to a gunshot wound - and we know that the spectre of PTSD stalks us all, and it has already claimed some.
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Old 27th Mar 2015, 20:24
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I dabbled with helos during my time.

I always enjoyed my brief time flying them - and I was usually very impressed with the folk operating them.

So I am not at all surprised that they have done a superb job on all operations from the Falklands to the more recent Afghan adventure.

Who gets the gong will always be contentious - but to the drivers who got their DFCs, I say very well done, and to those who were in the crew of those who got the DFC, I say that in your own mind, you know that what you did was brave, important, no doubt saved lives, and was a major part of the recognition that generated the DFC. At the end of the day, it is what you think of yourself and your colleagues under fire that is important.

We should all be proud of what our younger comrades have achieved in recent years, and we should all hope that we would have done as well if we had been put under the same pressure and danger.

Great effort by all - aircrew and groundcrew. Welcome home, and may you get a proper break with your families before the next adventure begins!
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 06:14
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I have the greatest respect for the SH force, having dabbled in it when the cabs were called 'SRT' short range transport. I am delighted that the perseverance and courage shown, has brought forth due reward.

I must return to the unfairness of the system which fails to reward the rear crew. Furthermore, I don't have the figures but think that the supporting ground crew were similarly inadequately honoured. As an aside but pertinent to this, I would like to see a breakdown of the meritorious, rather than bravery awards, given the Army v RAF v RN and numbers deployed. I know multiple deployments will probably skew the figures but it would be an interesting exercise.

Apart from the major who wrote his own citation, I offer my congratulations to all those rewarded but we still need a fairer system.

Old Duffer

PS Perhaps we need to have something like the Air Medal which shows operational commitment
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