British Special Forces commanders have long been dubious about sending an entire squadron of men into action in a single large helicopter like the AH-47 Chinook.
One British SAS (Special Air Service) commando recently told the BBC: "that a raid he was on in Baghdad was cancelled because their commander did not want to take the risk of putting dozens of highly trained operators in one such aircraft..." The SAS reluctance results in part from an incident that happened a long time ago in the 1982 Falklands war when a Sea King helicopter ditched, with the loss of 18 SAS men. In Iraq they switched to medium-sized Puma helicopters, two of which were lost on operations.
US Commanders in Afghanistan risked a lot by sending 38 Special Operations soldiers in one helicopter - the British certainly would not have never done that...
The SAS, the SBS would have never been so reckless with the lives of so many men in this particular operation because of their experience in the Falklands conflict. The Americans should have know better also than to risk so many Special Operations Forces at one time. British results in part from an incident during the 1982 Falklands war when a Sea King helicopter ditched, with the loss of 18 SAS men. In Iraq they switched to medium-sized Puma helicopters for precisely the same reason so you wouldn't have a chance to kill so many with one successful shoot down.
The risk is just to high.
American commanders didn't consider this carefully or consider the consequences if the enemy got off one lucky shot...They should have flown the men on two or three blackhawk helicopters. Instead they flew them in on one Chinook helicopter?
They should have been all too aware when something goes wrong the consequences could be catastrophic...
I was thinking about this when I was reading about the funeral of CW2 Bryan Nichols, in my local newspaper.
The 31-year-old Nichols, a U.S. Army helicopter pilot, was one of 30 Americans special operations forces killed when their Chinook chopper was shot down Aug. 6 in Afghanistan.
Nichols' body was flown into Hays Regional Airport in Hays, Kansas on Wednesday and landed at 1416 hours -- 2:16 p.m. in civilian speak. After being transported into a coach from Hays Memorial Chapel, Nichols' casket and his family began the trek back into town to the chapel.
People of all ages turned out in droves on the warm summer afternoon to show their support for one of their own. According to the Hays Daily News they lined roadways and streets the entire 4-mile distance from the airport to Vine Street, north down Vine to 20th, then west to the mortuary.
Gov. Sam Brownback ordered flags to be flown at half staff Friday in Nichols' honor, but flags -- hundreds of them -- were held high Wednesday.
A massive American flag hung from a fire truck near the intersection of Old U.S. Highway 40 and Vine; another flew in the breeze atop a crane owned by Hess Services. Entire families stood along the route, waving flags and watching.
Some stood along the route; others sat in lawn chairs. Nearly everyone was holding a flag, waving them as the procession drove by, as. ironically enough, a "Black Hawk" helicopter was hovering overhead for the entire distance.
The military apparently is investigating the incident. I wrote a letter myself to the Secretary of defense myself asking the question no one else has at this point. Namely why were so many Special Operations soldiers flying in one helicopter and not two or three? It's a question I don't think people can really appreciate unless the understand the lessons learned by other military services who had to learn the hard way.
In this case, I hope we learned our lesson! So that such an incident can never happen again.
Robert Tilford (former PV2 US ARMY INFANTRYMAN, 82nd AIRBORNE DIVISION, 2-508th)