There’s hardcore and then there’s “strap me on the wing of this Apache to rescue my brother in arms” hardcore. This is that second kind of hardcore.
After discovering a comrade was down in enemy-controlled territory, a team of Royal Marines conducted an unorthodox rescue – flying in on the wings of Apache attack helicopters. According to the Daily Mail:
Dubbed ‘Flight of the Phoenix’, it was the first time such a risky operation had been conducted by British forces in the field of battle.
Despite coming under fire from heavily armed Taliban insurgents, the men were determined to risk their lives to recover their colleague Lance Corporal Mathew Ford, who had been shot as he led his troops in storming a heavily defended fort used as a Taliban headquarters.
Apaches cannot carry passengers, so the Marines strapped themselves to the outsides of the helicopters, buckling themselves to the handgrips the pilots use to climb into the cockpit.
They then flew back into the combat zone to swoop on the compound as two more Apaches hovered above, laying down fire to keep the Taliban at bay.
Sadly, despite the heroic efforts of his fellow Marines, Lance Corporal Ford did not survive his wounds.
Here’s extended footage of the actual wingtip raid to save a fallen teammate: