Makeshift stretcher presented to memorial

DURING a small ceremony on Remembrance Day, yesterday, the Chief of Joint Operations, Lieut-Gen Ash Power, presented the Australian War Memorial with an engine cowling from a coalition helicopter that crashed in Southern Afghanistan on June 21, 2010.

The engine cowling was used as an improvised stretcher to extract the wounded from the crash site. Despite aero-medical evacuation and the heroic efforts by all involved in the incident, three Australian Commandos, Private Benjamin Chuck, Private Timothy Aplin and Private Scott Palmer from the Special Operations Task Group were killed as a result of the crash, and eight others were wounded.

The makeshift stretcher hung in the hospital trauma area in the ISAF Role 3 Medical Centre at Kandahar as a memorial to those who lost their lives and as a token of recognition to the health staff involved in resuscitation efforts on that fateful day.

 Several relatives of those killed, as well as representatives from the Army, attended the ceremony.

“The significance of the remnant lies not only in representing the terrible loss of life that day, but also reflects the heroic efforts of the rescue personnel to transport the wounded, eventually allowing for their return home,” Power said.

It is expected that the cowling will go on display at the Australian War Memorial during 2013.


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