Infantry: Leave No Man Behind

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January19, 2007: "Leave no man behind" is one of those rules infantry units try to live by. In southern Afghanistan recently, British Royal Marines went to some extreme lengths to rescue one of their own. On January 15th, after 200 marines had assaulted a Taliban stronghold, they discovered, after they had left the area, that one of their men had been left behind. Realizing that speed was needed to rescue him, as there might still be Taliban in the area, they utilized the only helicopters available, three AH-64 gunships, to carry four marines back to the area. The other gunship would be used to provide fire support against any Taliban in the area. Since AH-64s only have room inside for the two man crew, the marines improvised harnesses on the helicopters two stubby wings. Rockets and missiles are usually suspended from these wings, so they can support the weight of a marine and his gear. The three helicopters quickly reached the scene of the battle, the four marines dismounted from the helicopters, and found the man who was left behind. He had been killed in the battle, and his body was lashed to the wing of the third helicopter, and all three gunships returned to their base. The incident will join a long list of bold improvisations by the Royal Marines.

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