, 2022-12-19 20:38:37,
In November 2020, American forces were in the middle of consolidating bases in Afghanistan as part of the U.S. military’s planned drawdown there. Part of that effort required moving large relocatable buildings via Ch-47 Chinook helicopters.
A U.S. Army CH-47 moving one of those buildings suffered catastrophic damage when its sling load suddenly swung upward and hit its rear rotors. Its five-man crew managed to land the aircraft, saving it and their own lives in the process. For their efforts, all five received the Army’s rare Broken Wing Award.
The Broken Wing Award was established in 1968 and is given to Army personnel who show “extraordinary skill recovering an aircraft from an in-flight emergency situation,” and “minimize or prevent aircraft damage or injury to personnel,” according to the Army Safety Awards website.
If there are multiple crew members involved in an incident, each crew member can be considered for the award, like the crew of the CH-47 over Afghanistan on Nov. 20, 2020.
That night, Army pilot Chief Warrant Officer 3 Ryan Schwend, co-pilot Chief Warrant Officer 2 Eugene Park, and crew members Staff Sgt. Ben Kamalii, Sgt. Andrew Donley-Russell and Sgt. Ty Higgins were moving a relocatable building slung from their Chinook from Kandahar to Marine Corps Camp Dwyer in Afghanistan’s Helmand Valley.
It was a routine night mission, one they’d performed many times with night vision goggles….
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