After providing exceptional service in Afghanistan over the past eight months, soldiers from Australia’s current Rotary Wing Group rotation have returned home for a well earned break and mandatory maintenance on their aircraft.
The task group and their two CH-47 Chinooks will return to Afghanistan early in the new year to recommence flight operations in support of ISAF efforts – a deployment they have undertaken since rotations began in 2006.
Living up to their reputation as workhorses, the two Chinooks chalked up an impressive 860 sorties, transported more than 4700 troops and moved in excess of 691,000 kilograms of supplies and equipment during 737 hours of flying assisting the efforts of the International Stabilisation Assistance Force (ISAF) during the rotation.
Task Group Commander, Lieutenant Colonel (LTCOL) David Lynch said the effort of the team was highly commendable.
“On just about all the missions we flew this year supporting our coalition partners; our crews were fulfilling the role of Air Mission Commander, taking the lead and providing direction to the other Coalition aircraft involved in the missions,” LTCOL Lynch said.
A major contribution to the Rotary Wing Group’s sustained high performance was the role played by the maintenance crews who were responsible for keeping the “Chooks” in the air.
“A key mission requirement for the Task Group was to ensure that the CH-47’s were mission ready whenever they were required,” LTCOL Lynch said.
“This year, we did not fail on a single occasion to provide support when we were assigned to a mission.
“This magnificent effort by the maintainers to keep our aircraft reliable and available through out our deployment period has underpinned our success this year.”
Maintenance crews stripped the Rotary Wing Groups “double decker bus” sized helicopters and packed them into a pair of Royal Australian Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft for the return trip to Australia.
The Rotary Wing Group is an Australian Defence Force Aviation Support Asset deployed as part of Operation SLIPPER, Australia’s military contribution to the international campaigns against terrorism, maritime security in the Middle East Area of Operations and countering piracy in the Gulf of Aden.
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