Imagine if you are a Royal Marine Commando Commander in Afghanistan. After a serious dismounted attack on a taliban fort, you discover that one of your Lance Corporals, Matthew Ford of 45 Commando, is missing, probably wounded, and, more likely, dying or dead. Your options are very limited. You could go in again with vehicles, dismount and attack, again, into heavy resistance and take more casualties.
Or...you could get volunteers to strap themselves to the outside of your Apaches and go in fast, low, and shooting. You know that the pilot or gunner of each of the Apaches would have to dismount to provide cover for the commandos on the rescue.
To say that this operation is risky is the understatement of the year.
On Monday, January 13, 2007, the Royal Commando Marines launched the rescue effort. Three Apaches lifted off, two carrying two commandos each, strapped to the sides of the
...UK Task Force spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Rory Bruce, said:
"It was a leap into the unknown. This is believed to be the first time UK forces have ever tried this type of rescue mission.
"It was an extraordinary tale of heroism and bravery of our airmen, soldiers and marines who were all prepared to put themselves back into the line of fire to rescue a fallen comrade."...
Be sure to visit the MoD to read the whole piece.
When they found Matthew Ford, he was dead. The Royal Marines brought him home. Lance Corporal Ford was 30 and engaged to be married. You can read more about him here.
Godspeed, Lance Corporal Ford.