Skip to comments.Soldiers serve as door gunners on helicopters in Afghanistan
Posted on 04/03/2009 4:41:57 AM PDT by Clive
Soldiers serve as door gunners on helicopters in Afghanistan
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Kandahar, Afghanistan — Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group, are flying as helicopter door gunners in Afghanistan. They are the first Canadian air gunners to engage in combat since the Second World War.
Gunners, who have flown as aircrew since World War I, rose to prominence with the Halifax and Lancaster heavy bombers of World War II. Technology eventually replaced them in fixed-wing aircraft.
Soldiers protect helicopter crews, aircraft and cargo
With the deployment of CH-146 Griffons and CH-147 Chinooks to Kandahar, gunners are back as integral members of helicopter crews. They protect the aircraft, the crews, their cargo, and the road convoys being escorted by the Griffon tactical helicopter.
“In Canada, we normally operate CH-146 Griffons with a three-person crew: the aircraft captain, the first officer and the flight engineer,” explained Captain Joe Rehberg, the deputy operations officer of Canadian Helicopter Force Afghanistan.
“Back in Canada, it’s the job of the flight engineer to control and operate the machine-gun on the Griffon. Now that we’re using an Army gunner on the machine-gun, we have more flexibility and the maximum protection that is required for the aircraft, crew and passengers.”
“I volunteered to serve with 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group, during Task-Force 3-08,” said Corporal Christopher Hinds of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada.
“At first I didn’t really understand what being a door gunner involved. Now, I consider myself one of the luckiest soldiers in the Army.”
Rigorous, extensive training to prepare for operations
Upon selection, the new door gunners commence a rigorous and extensive Air Force training plan to prepare them for operations.
“We had to learn aircraft operations and safety procedures as members of the flight crew,” said Cpl Hinds.
“The door gunner has to understand all the working parts of the aircraft in order to effectively monitor the aircraft and watch for threats coming from the ground,” said the Reservist. “The gunner continues to check the overall condition of the aircraft and reports any potential hazards or problems to the pilots.”
Capt Rehberg has nothing but praise for the soldiers. “The door gunner project has been an outstanding success,” he said. “They are an integral part of the flight crews, and we wouldn’t want to fly missions without them. They are eager to learn and happy to be a part of a mission that protects Canadians and their coalition partners.”
ACaptain Paul Kimrticle by , Acting Wing Logistics Officer with Joint Task Force Afghanistan Air Wing Photos by Master Corporal Robert Bottrill Project Number:09-0193
During an exercise, Sgt Matthew Kirkpatrick of The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry (Wentworth Regiment) opens up with the Dillon Aero M134 Minigun, a 7.62-mm machine-gun, from his position aboard a CH-146 Griffon helicopter.
Cpl Christopher Hinds of The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada takes aim with a C6 machine-gun from his position aboard a CH-146 Griffon helicopter.
As opposed to civilians???
As opposed to airmen.
As opposed to air force personnel.
The Griffons' gunners are not just to protect the Griffon and its crew. Griffons act as escorts for CH-147 Chinooks and for surface vehicle convoys.
What’s with the CH-146 and CH-147?
Do the canucks just add a “1” in front of the US nomenclature?
I wish I had one mounted on my car for my commute when slowpoke jerks hog the left lane when i’m trying to pass.
I’d hate to see the Holster for that thing.
Now let me get this straight.... use a soldier to operate a machine gun in a helicopter...
Holy CRAP! What will they think of next?
Ok... I've got an idea... Maybe, I'm just spit-balling here, just maybe get a heads up display on the pilot that is magically hooked up to a gun that points where he is looking. .... Oh, Oh, wait. Give the pilot a trigger also, so he can fire the gun that he aims with his magic helmet.
Wow, (shaking head and scratching) what will those crazy Canadians think of next. Maybe "free medical care for life" or something like that....
And the carrying case for the 28 volt battery.
It would call for one hell of a strong Sam Browne belt.
Dillon also makes a good calendar.
Dillon re-engineered it with new parts and new materials, turning it into a reliable gun. And they offer retro-fit kits for the original models.
The Mythbusters crew have made a couple of trips to the desert to use the Dillon gun. It's fun to watch Kari shoot it. :-)