FRIDAY FOTO (January 27, 2012)
Afghan Avalanche Rescue
U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Todd Peplow, a helicopter gunner from the 438th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron, watches as injured villagers are carried off his Mi-17 helicopter to awaiting ambulances at Fayzabad, Afghanistan. That’s right, his ride is a Russian-made, twin turbine Mi-17 Afghan transport helicopter. The 438th is part of the 438th Air Expeditionary Wing which has been training Afghan Air Force pilots, air and ground crews in tasks ranging from maintenance to flight discipline.
In this photo (click on it to enlarge) you can see some of the tools of the trade that the master sergeant carries, including a helmet-mounted video camera, 9 mm pistol, work gloves, a GPS (global positioning system) and a first aid kit.
Peplow was part of a U.S.-Afghan rescue mission in Badakshan province, after an avalanche trapped and injured residents of Shewa Village in northern Afghanistan.Two Mi-17s were sent to rescue the injured as well as the crew of a downed Afghan Mi-17. The downed aircrew supplied triage information about the victims — many suffering frostbite — and helped villagers shovel out a landing zone in minus-15-degree-temperatures.
See the photo below for an idea of the terrain and weather the helo crews faced at the landing site — 9,000 feet above sea level.
For additional photos of the rescue operation, click here.
Entry filed under: Afghanistan, Counter Insurgency, FRIDAY FOTO, National Security and Defense, Photos, Weaponry and Equipment. Tags: Afghanistan, Air Force, Counter Insurgency, Disaster Relief, helicopter, Mi-17, military aviation, soft power, winter warfare.