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Synopsis

Lifeline in Helmand tells the story of the Royal Air Force tactical transport force operating in one of the most dangerous regions in the Afghanistan campaign Helmand province. The Chinook helicopters of 1310 Flight fly heavy-lift and trooping missions to remote Forward Operating Bases and in direct support of Deliberate Ground Operations. They are complemented by the mass air-drop capability of the Hercules transports of 904 Expeditionary Air Wing, RAF. The book follows C Flight of 27 Squadron from RAF Odiham as it prepares for another three-month deployment to Helmand manning 1310 Flight, under the command of NATO, within the International Security Assistance Force, ISAF. The narrative joins C Flight on winter-flying training in the Scottish Highlands, before following them to the battleground on the Airbridge transports from RAF Brize Norton. It then tracks them through their operational tour. There are first-hand accounts from air and ground crews, client Royal Marine Commandos and in-theatre helicopter support units, as well as from Hercules pilots on detachment from RAF Lyneham, and men of 47 Air Despatch Squadron. There are detailed depictions of sorties in support of ground operations, and of life-saving casualty evacuation missions with teams of medics and nurses. The author describes the tortuous historical background to todays conflict, and eye-witnesses contribute their personal viewpoints on the campaign together with many dramatic photographs from the front line. The whole adds up to a fitting tribute to elite British units facing the horrors and deprivations of war in a far-off corner of a troubled land.

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