By Wyatt Earp | March 8, 2010
Remember the name Lt. Ian Fortune. The British pilot is a profile in courage, as he was shot in the helmet during a Afghanistan firefight and still managed to load 20 soldiers into his Chinook before flying them to safety.
Weeks after a firefight in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, a story has emerged of a British pilot who was struck in the head by a bullet and still managed to safely land a helicopter full of casualties, medical personnel and troops. British TV host Mike Brewer says he was onboard the Chinook that day as Flight Lt. Ian Fortune, 28, was shot in the helmet, just above his eyes. Immediately after takeoff, the aircraft “took a big shudder,” someone called “mayday, mayday” on the radio, Brewer said, adding that he heard Fortune saying he had been shot in the face.
Brewer said at this point, “I was thinking it as the end of my days, and I was about to plummet to my death.” Still, Fortune was able to get the 20 or so people aboard the Chinook — including a half-dozen injured Afghan troops — back to Camp Bastion safely, he said.
“The aircraft controls were damaged. It was a lot of trouble to keep us in the air,” Brewer said. “I spoke to the co-pilot later. He said Ian would not let go of the controls. Even with blood pouring into his eyes, he would not let go.”
Holy crap, dude! That’s pretty hardcore, and yet typical of the acts British and American soldiers do in Afghanistan every day. Good show, Lt. Fortune!