Nato red tape is blamed for paras death

RIP Cpl Wright.
NATO Red Tape

A British paratrooper was killed after an attempt to rescue his injured comrades from an Afghan minefield was delayed by Nato red tape and a shortage of helicopters, an inquest was told yesterday.

Corporal Mark Wright, 27, died after waiting more than three hours for a helicopter to airlift him. He was one of four soldiers seriously wounded by mines as they patrolled ground near the Kajaki hydroelectric dam.

Colonel Stuart Tootal, then commander of the 3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment, said that because of bureaucratic delays in sending an American Black Hawk helicopter, he was forced instead to despatch an RAF Chinook to rescue the men.

The aircraft could not land and was not equipped with a winch.

Wright was hit after he was caught by a mine blast as the Chinook flew low over the wounded soldiers.

Tootal described what he called the "day of days", September 6 2006, when he lost three men and 18 were injured in three incidents in southern Afghanistan.

After the first mine exploded he asked for a Black Hawk to get his men out but was told none was available. "We knew Corporal [Stuart] Hale had been badly injured and casualty evacuation was an absolute necessity.

"I had a man who ... was going to bleed to death," Tootal told a coroner's court in Oxford. "We kept on saying 'we need a Black Hawk, we need a Black Hawk'.

"When we asked for a winch, Kandahar [the joint helicopter taskforce base] came back and said: 'We're not sure you should be using a helicopter because of the mines,' and I said: 'We can't carry this guy out.'"

When explosives experts said it could take up to 12 hours to clear the mines, Tootal took the decision to send in a Chinook, which might have been able to put two wheels down and take casualties on to its loading ramp. Another member of the platoon, Sgt Stuart Pearson, cleared a path for the helicopter to land. As he walked back, he stood on a mine.

Within about 30 seconds there were reports of further casualties and it began to become clear there was a tight cluster of mines, Tootal said. Shortly after, the helicopter landed on its two back wheels and the men were motioned towards it.

"They made it clear they weren't going to and didn't want the helicopter there. As it took off and flew away, at some point there was then a third mine detonation which was the one that tragically and fatally wounded Cpl Wright."

Tootal continued: "Perhaps something could have been moved by the helicopter, perhaps the helicopter taking off could have caused Mark Wright to move or move a bit of equipment. I think there is definitely a causal link to the helicopter and the detonation. That is implying no fault on the helicopter crew - they were doing their best."

Three soldiers lost legs and four others sustained serious injuries. With wounds to his arm, neck and chest, Wright crawled across the minefield to administer first aid and morphine to his wounded comrades. He stemmed the bleeding and reassured them that rescue was on its way.

Wright, who was posthumously awarded the George Cross, died on board one of the two Black Hawk helicopters which eventually took the men to the military hospital at Camp Bastion.
Please do not speculate on events.This is posted for information only
Journo's are watching! :evil:
Is this the situation that is addressed in the book "3PARA"?
I have not read it all yet, gave up at around page 70 to read Bravo Two Zero instead, going back to it after i've read this :p
You were with the best and are with the best and know you may rest in the knowledge - R.I.P Soldier
Forget the bureaucratic cock up, what this shows is the total bravery and sacrifice our soldiers freely display when comrades are in trouble. Gotta lift your glasses to these ones in particular

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