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HeliTorque :: View topic - Australian Chinooks fly in Afghanistan
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Australian Chinooks fly in Afghanistan
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 12:32 am    Post subject: Australian Chinooks fly in Afghanistan Reply with quote

DEFENCE MEDIA RELEASE

CPA 065/06 Thursday, 6 April 2006

Australian Chinooks fly in Afghanistan

The Australian Aviation Task Group based at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan has begun operations as part of Taskforce Knighthawk. The Australian helicopters are providing troop lift capabilities, heavy equipment movement, supply transport and aeromedical evacuation.

Already, the Australian Chinook helicopters and their crews have received high praise from the taskforce commander, Lieutenant Colonel Mark Patterson, United States Army.

"Everything they do is on par or better than our current forces here in theatre. On several missions I've put the Australian aircraft in charge of US aircraft because of their capabilities. And that's in the very first week of their employment," Lieutenant Colonel Patterson said.

The 110 Australian personnel and their two helicopters are drawn from Townsville's 5th Aviation Regiment and have spent much time, both in Australia and Afghanistan preparing for their missions.

Executive Officer of the Australian Task Group Captain Michael Whitney said spirits were high and the Australians were proud to be part of this important mission.

"Our missions will ultimately benefit the Afghan people and give them a better future in a stable and secure country, that result will combat terrorism," Captain Whitney said.

"One of our helicopters has already helped save the life of a five year old Afghan girl, our chopper evacuated her to a coalition hospital, where she received life saving treatment," Captain Whitney said.

Captain Whitney said the pilots were enjoying flying in the region of operation, which is as diverse as Australia. "The landscape of Afghanistan is amazing - mountains, deserts and deep valleys - it is an amazing place for our pilots and crews to fly."

The Australian mission at Kandahar is supporting the Australian Special Operations Task Group already operating in this country and may continue until late November to support the Australian Reconstruction Team that will be deploying to Afghanistan later this year.
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