Royal Marines Strap Themselves To The Side Of A Helicopter In Desperate Rescue Attempt

Operation Glacier

In 2007, the Royal Marines needed to rescue one of their own. They hatched an incredible plan to rescue him from the compound where he was trapped.

Jugroom Fort

The British had attacked Jugroom Fort, but the situation went sideways. They used armored vehicles and Apache helicopters to launch an assault. However, the enemy forces fought back with heavy fire.

Unfortunately, communication during the mission faltered and the group withdrew one Marine short. Lance Cpl. Mathew Ford was left behind.

Rescue 101

The unit did not realize Ford was MIA until they regrouped. One of the Apaches used his infrared sensors to look at the battleground. Inside the compound walls, they picked up a human silhouette.

From what they could tell, he looked injured. The Marines quickly put together a plan to rescue him. Their plan included a call to NATO assets who were nearby.

An American A-10 and a B-1 came to assist. The B-1 dropped four JDAMs on the far side of the compound away from Ford’s position.

American pilots gave accounts of the incident in the book, “War is Boring.”

“As I passed ahead of one Apache. I glanced high left to see a man, leaning over the stubby helicopter wing, unloading his rifle on the enemy. We matched with 30-millimeter and rockets.”

Unidentified American Pilot

Creative Efforts

The Royal Marines were strapped to their Apaches firing their rifles. Both of the helicopters could not land onsite, so one landed inside while the other landed just outside the wall.

The Marines jumped out and went to search for Ford. Even the pilots got involved. A set of Marines started to go the wrong way and he redirected them.

The American A-10s gave cover fire while the British Marines found their lost soldier and carried him back to the Apaches. They made it out just in time. The enemy had rounded up their forces enough to fire on the helicopters.

It only took them three minutes for the insurgents to fight back, however the Marines rounded everyone up and into the Apaches to leave the compound within two minutes.

Despite all their efforts and the Apache’s speed, Ford had already succumbed to his injuries. All of the men who participated in the rescue were awarded medals for their bravery and valor.

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