A Royal Air Force Chinook pilot has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
September 24: The UK Ministry of Defence has announced that Royal Air Force Chinook pilot Flight Lieutenant Ian Fortune has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) whilst on operations in Afghanistan.
Flt Lt Fortune was in charge of an Immediate Response Team and scrambled to conduct an emergency medical evacuation of six casualties with gunshot wounds. Fortune manoeuvred his aircraft into an emergency landing site under insurgent fire while an Apache attempted to suppress the enemy fire. As the Chinook departed a round came through the windscreen, hit the front of Fortune’s helmet and shattered his visor, causing deep lacerations to his face. He retained control of the helicopter and continued to take evasive action. A further round hit and disabled the flight stabilisation system, making the aircraft much harder to control. The Chinook was eight times, resulting in a series of system failures, including damage to the forward transmission.
The Chinook made it back to the medical facility at Camp Bastion and all casualties survived. On hearing the news of his award, Fortune said “I feel truly honoured to have been awarded a DFC and am filled with a sense of immense pride. I am humbled by the thought that I join a remarkable band of men and women in the annals of history who, through exceptional feats in the air, have inspired me since I was a boy. However, similar deeds occur unnoticed on an almost daily basis in Afghanistan and it is my privilege to serve and operate with fellow military aircrew and ground troops to whom this award is also a tribute.” Flt Lt Fortune will receive his award at an investiture at Buckingham Palace in the autumn.