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Chinook Crew 'Chick': Highs and Lows of Forces Life from the Longest Serving Female RAF Chinook Force Crewmember

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On her busiest day of operations in 2008, she and her crew flew 14 separate sorties – including one where five British soldiers had been killed at a forward operating base.

The good thing about the Chinook” Liz explained , “compared to something like the Puma and even the Merlin is that it’s got a lot of redundant space. I am so very grateful to Lady Louise Vaughan who entrusted me with the responsibility to be a table host.Other casualties would also be seeing their friends dying on the floor beside them, but you couldn’t say anything to make them better, you just had to get on with your job and get them back to base and to the HLS Nightingale hospital at Camp Bastion,” she explained. In 2005, Liz was first deployed to Afghanistan and she’d go on to complete 10 tours as part of the medical helicopter response team providing emergency assistance to wounded personnel. nothing would ever compare to the stuff I'd done in Afghanistan, and I very quickly began to unravel.

On her final MERT operation, a US medic handed McConaghy a clear plastic bag with the severed foot of an American serviceman killed in action. The author's unwavering passion, her determination to break down barriers, and her unwavering commitment to her craft are awe-inspiring.Having had the book come out [all her mental health challenges are] now completely out in the world. There’s so many people [that] have reached out to me since they’ve read it or heard my story here, either suffering from PTSD, who know of someone who’s got PTSD or might be on the brink of it, who they’re helping now because they’ve read my story, and also a lot of people have been affected by suicide because obviously I got to the point where I took a huge overdose and tried to end my life.

The self-styled crew ‘chick’ has recently published her memoir about her time serving on the Royal Air Force’s Chinook helicopter. My name is Liz McConaghy, and my journey has been quite the rollercoaster – from soaring high in the Royal Air Force Chinook Fleet to facing the deepest valleys of life.During her deployment, Liz flew the Boeing CH-47 Chinook to complete daring rescue missions into war zones, serving as a lifeline for dangerously wounded soldiers on the battlefield. However, she also wants people who read her book to learn from her sobering, life-changing experience. As the situation in Afghanistan escalated, McConaghy’s responsibilities grew, leading to some harrowing experiences on the medical emergency response team. She spent days on end in her small flat in Basingstoke, Hants, binge-eating, getting up in the middle of the night, and looking online for news of soldiers she had worked with.

LIZ MCCONAGHY is an ex-RAF Chinook crewmember who has deployed worldwide with the CH47 fleet, including to Iraq and Afghanistan. On Wednesday August 12, 2020, McConaghy woke up and decided that “today was going to be my last day on Earth”.Keep your head down, get stuck in the same as the rest and be the best ‘person’ at your job,” she added.

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