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Chinook Crew 'Chick': Highs and Lows of Forces Life from the Longest Serving Female RAF Chinook Force Crewmember

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Only when she saw a huge, sparking cable lashing against the airframe and smelled burning electricity did McConaghy realise they had flown directly into high voltage wires crews nickname “helicopter killers”. The author takes us through the intricacies of Chinook operations, the intense training, and the complexities of working as a team in high-stress situations. I really want to get the message out – just because I had PTSD does not mean I have to have it forever. Her career saw her amass two deployments to Iraq and 10 to Helmand, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Herrick, which gave her an insightful and very personal perspective on war. She said: "The 'bat phone' would ring, we'd take down all these details, we would sprint out to the aircraft, spin the aircraft up as quick as we could, engineers would be helping and most of the time we'd get very minimal information to begin with, and injuries in Afghanistan don't just happen by accident.

A struggle with PTSD escalated, and in August 2020, I faced my darkest hour, attempting to take my own life. And he said ‘well, actually, it’s a wire, and the job is in helicopter recruitment’ and I was like I want to do that job. This then turned into journaling, and three weeks after putting pen to paper, Liz had unknowingly written a book. It's like having a personal scorecard – a simple yet powerful tool that allows us to gauge where we are and take steps to uplift ourselves. Now hired as a motivational speaker, Liz shares how she has overcome her struggles with mental health and the ins and outs of her military career.After two years of training, she qualified as a Chinook crewman and joined 27 Squadron, soon deployed to Basra, in Iraq. McConaghy said that the most frequently asked, and least favorite, question over the years has been the challenges she has faced as a female crewman. In an exclusive interview with Liz McConaghy, the longest serving female RAF Chinook Force Crew member, Liz describes how it all started, and the challenges she faced during and after leaving the RAF. By the time that finished,” Liz explained, “my neck had started to play up, and had been playing up for years because [I was] wearing a helmet and mpg goggles. And if they did, why haven’t measures been taken, such as different shelves to prevent this happening?

Succeeding in overcoming her demons, Liz is now a highly sought-after motivational speaker who candidly speaks about her battle with mental health and shares inspirational anecdotes of her military career.It was a privilege to be part of it, a huge honour really, to be part of any soldier's last journey off the battlefield. Her career began at the age of 19, and she quickly rose through the ranks, becoming a sergeant after basic training. I highly recommend this book, which will make you laugh, cry, and have moments of anger and despair, but it's never boring.

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