• Si Biggs

Apache Rescue

Updated: Jan 17

Unit/ Formation: 42 Cdo RM

Location: Jugroom Fort

Period/ Conflict: War in Afghanistan (2001-)

Year: 2007

Date/s: 15th January 2007

On 15th January 2007 as part of the Operation GLACIER , Zulu Company of 45 Commando Royal Marines crossed the Helmand River to assault the Taliban stronghold of Jugroom Fort, near Garmsir, southern Afghanistan. Following heavy casualties the attack was called off, but during the reorganization Lance Corporal Mathew Ford RM was unaccounted for.

Two Apache helicopter crews from 656 Squadron Army Air Corps confirmed the location of the casualty lying near the fort’s outer wall. Four volunteers from the IX Group, Captain D. Rigg RE, WO1 (RSM) C. Hearn RM, and Marines C. Fraser-Perry and G. Robinson, were flown into the enemy stronghold while sitting on the wings of the two Apaches.

Helicopter pilots WO1 Ed Macy and Staff Sergeant K. Armatage dismounted with the four Commandos to recover the fatally wounded Marine. Despite coming under heavy machine-gun fire, they carried him back and secured him to the footstep of ZJ224.

All the personnel returned to their aircraft, and Staff Sergeant C. Bird and WO1 D. O’Malley succeeded in flying to safety without further casualties. For this audacious mission, WO1 D. O’Malley was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. WO1 Ed Macy, Staff Sergeant K. Armatage and Captain D. Rigg RE were each awarded the Military Cross.

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