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16 February 2010, 12:16 | Updated: 16 February 2010, 12:27
An RAF pilot from Odiham who is fighting in Afghanistan, has been sharing his experiences with Heart in a blog.
Flight Lieutenant Chris "Haz" Hasler is a pilot on 27 Squadron, C Flight based at RAF Odiham. His team
were involved in the launch of the massive operation against the Taliban in Afghanistan, named "Operation Moshtarak".
The team has been in Aghanistan since 21st December 2009 and are due to return home in the next few weeks.
Lietenant Chris Hasler has been sharing what it was like to be involved in the launch of Operation Moshtarak:
"We had known about Op MOSHTARAK since our arrival in theatre back in December and as we loaded our troops and engaged the rotors, we were acutely aware of the complexity of the operation we were about to execute.
We struck out at low level under the moonless night towards our objective which was the insurgent held town of Showal. En route to target the ambient light levels were so poor that even our NVGs struggled to provide much more than a dark green nothingness. However, with only a few short miles to go the goggles erupted in a bright and clear picture provided by infrared flares invisible to the naked eye, dropped from a circling C-130 Hercules from overhead.
On short finals to the target, the formation of Chinooks tightened spacing and pitched noses up hard to decelerate quickly. The back wheels dug into the soft ground of the muddy field and we disgorged our complement of Royal Welsh and ANA troops. Seconds later we were wheels up and racing back to Bastion airfield to pick up our next chalk of soldiers.
In just over 2 hours our packet of 4 RAF Chinooks had delivered approximately 650 soldiers to the heart of the insurgency. An insurgency who after being forewarned of our attack wisely kept their heads down or fled the scene.
At 0610 we stopped the rotors and after a quick debrief headed for bed. We wouldn't get much sleep as we were taking over the Immediate Response Team helicopter later that day."