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Salute to RAF Odiham hero
A CHINOOK pilot from RAF Odiham has been recognised for his bravery after landing amid a storm of Taliban bullets to save the lives of wounded soldiers.
Flight Lieutenant Gez Wyatt, of 27 Squadron, scrambled to a call to rescue an injured soldier who had been shot in the neck by Taliban fighters in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
He landed the Medical Emergency Response Team Chinook, despite enemy fire, to rescue the soldier, plus an RAF Regiment Gunner who had also been injured in the melee.
The 30-year-old, from Kingston, Surrey, was later forced to land the helicopter in the desert, after it suffered an oil leak and radio damage in the firefight.
The casualties were transferred to a support helicopter, while Flt Lt Wyatt was picked up 10 minutes later by a third aircraft, after destroying sensitive information and equipment on the damaged Chinook.
He received a Distinguished Flying Cross in the latest round of operational awards, and his bravery in landing the Chinook in enemy fire was credited with saving the lives of the injured personnel.
Flt Lt Wyatt said: “Although this award has been made to me for the events of that day, it was very much a team effort.
“There were others on the aircraft who all played a substantial role. The professionalism and skill of every member of the crew played a huge part in ensuring the safety of the aircraft and the crucial work of the medics and RAF Regiment Gunners enabled the successful outcome.”