Operation PRESENCE Mali - Captain Ruis

Transcript - Captain Ruis

Hi I'm Jackie. I'm a Chinook helicopter pilot currently deployed on our presence here in Mali. Our mission in Mali is to provide a forward air medivac capability to the UN troops on the ground supporting them in MINUSMA mission. So what does that mean. Basically my crew and myself are responsible for bringing combat medical team to the initial point of injury and bringing them back to a role two hospital. Let me take some time to show you the aircraft. This is a Chinook helicopter, the CH-147 F and this is what I fly. You notice we've got some extended range fuel tanks. It helps us go a little bit farther than your average helicopter actually would. Moving on, this is where our flight engineer would be. You'll notice there's no gun there now but when we actually do go flying there's a C6 mounted there. Moving up you've got one of our pilots on this side. This is kind of my office where I get to have my fun. And another pilot on the other side. Moving along, we've got another window here, that's where our door gunner would be. Another C6 would be mounted there as well. If you look up you'll notice two rotor heads. That helps increase our lift capability. Moving back, you'll notice the engines behind me. There's a little bit of extra on the front of it. That's our EAPS system, the Engine Air Particle Separator. Basically that helps keep dirt and dust out of our engines, because here in Mali every time we land, a big dust cloud comes up.

So let me take you inside the Chinook. Right here, we've got our loadmaster, they're our fifth and final crewmember. We've also got our third gun that we have on the aircraft. As we're moving back, you might notice some ballistic plates on the floor. It's just part of our countermeasures system that helps protect the aircraft. We're very well protected here. Moving back, This is where our medics would be. So we're going to have a doctor, a nurse, and two medics onboard the aircraft every time we fly in go pick up a patient. Basically takes up about two seats right here and there's enough room to wait patients on the floor. Moving up is my favorite part. Let me show you my office.

Ever since I was a kid. I always knew I wanted to be a pilot. So I'm really excited to be here on my first deployment. However, it's kind of a moral dilemma because when I get to fly and do what I love, it means that it was a terrible day for someone else. The thing that kind of helps is that on the worst day of someone's life, my team and I get to bring them help.

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