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RAF Chinook crews train for Afghanistan in California

July 24, 2011

RAF Chinook helicopter crews recently travelled to the United States to train for Afghanistan in the heat and high-altitude terrain of southern California.

30 Commando Support Squadron who are the Brigade Reconnaissance Force take part in an operation in Helmand province Afghanistan. 30 Commando Royal Marines are embarked on their first operational tour since WW2. Pictures By: PO (PHOT) Hamish Burke

A large proportion of the RAF Odiham-based force has rotated through US Naval Air Facility El Centro (NAFEC) in southern California in preparation for ongoing operations in Afghanistan.

This deployment was a first for the RAF’s 18 and 27 Squadrons. It follows on from earlier detachments to the same location by the Army Air Corps Apaches and Lynx aircraft and the RAF’s Merlin Force.

RAF Odiham Station Commander, Group Captain Steve Shell, said:

“It is clear that El Centro replicates Afghanistan better than previous Environmental Training locations and offers greater potential for other combat ready workup training sorties.”

”]In addition to their normal under-slung load prep task, personnel from the RAF Odiham Joint Helicopter Support Squadron (JHSS) acted as ‘white force’ during tactical exercises, playing the roles of passenger handlers, Army Commanders, and even simulated casualties for evacuation tasks, “… although using strawberry syrup for the blood might have been a mistake,” said JHSS Detachment Commander, Flight Lieutenant Paul Mason, with a grin.

“The realism really inspired people and means that they are far better prepared for combat operations than they have ever been.”

To read the full article click here or the images above.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Priscilla Dicketts permalink
    July 24, 2011 18:50

    Strawberry syrup……. Wouldn’t Del Boy say “you plonker Rodney” there’s money in that! And I bet the flies and all other nasties loved the sweet taste……… Mind you ketchup would not have been much better!

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