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

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

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

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Aged just 21, she was the youngest aircrew member to deploy to Iraq and was also the only female crewman' on the Chinook wing for four years. Contact the Champions Speakers Agency to provisionally enquire about hiring Liz McConaghy for your next event, today.

The author's passion for her work shines through every sentence, and it's evident that she has poured her heart and soul into this book. Liz McConaghy, originally from Newtownards, holds the accolade of longest-serving female on the Chinook wing and also the youngest aircrew member ever deployed to Iraq. Encouraging people to learn from her sobering and life-changing experience, Liz shares how she would look after the mental health and wellbeing of others, but forget her own wellbeing in the meantime. I wasn’t able to be with people, I began to spiral and it triggered PTSD as I began to relive life at war. She said that the casualties she dealt with during the war were tiered, from T1 as the most severe danger to life, to T3 which was known as “the walking wounded”.

She had seen some terrible things on deployment during her service, not least flying on the medical flights recovering badly injured and dead soldiers from the battlefield.

In a nutshell, your details will ONLY be used by Help for Heroes and Help for Heroes Trading Limited, and we'll NEVER share them for another organisation's marketing purposes. We do not accept requests for autographs, signed merchandise, fan mail, birthday messages or any other non-commercial contact with the speakers or acts. Liz was deployed for ten highly kinetic tours and flew over 3,000 hours until she was finally discharged due to a neck injury.We also deliberately didn’t try to find out whether the casualties had made it or not, it was too difficult to find out because it wasn’t good for our mental health, but when the camp went into a state of ‘minimise’ — which is when the internet and phone lines are turned off — we knew that was when someone had lost their lives. It was quite strange because I never really had an interest until my brother joined, at school I wasn’t in the cadets and it’s interesting I joined the RAF because flying wasn’t the reason I was inspired to do what I do, making a difference was. Liz now works as a motivational speaker, mental health campaigner and runs courses in leadership for NHS workers. I was always really worried that someone would have to take my bullet, you feel like if you don’t go, what if something happens and I’m meant to be there and I’m not? The biggest honour of all her duties, however, was serving on the Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT), or the flying ambulance as it was more commonly known.

Liz also takes audiences on her emotional journey of overcoming adversity and speaks about finding hope in the darkest of times, revealing the valuable tools she used to build a path to a new life. Another wonderful woman just getting on with her job and making a massive impact in so many ways without wanting any recognition! While deployed, Liz served on the Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT) – a group of service personnel who saved countless lives in Helmand Province throughout the conflict in Afghanistan. So you can take a lot around you, a lot of battle damage and as long as the engines are still running and you are still going, then you’re okay.I haven’t worn my medals at all since I left…and although I have never believed that they are a true reflection of one’s service I will be wearing them with pride as I march past the Cenotaph. Liz stands as an example that PTSD does not have to be your identity, it can simply be a chapter of your life that can be learned from and most importantly moved on from. Flying into war zones to rescue severely wounded soldiers, Liz flew the Boeing CH-47 Chinook – often referred to as the ‘flying ambulance’. In her astounding career Liz McConaghy completed two deployments to Iraq followed by ten deployments to Helmand province in Afghanistan in support of the enduring Operation Herrick campaign. The Chinook chick survived Afghanistan and Iraq but was almost defeated back home Liz McConaghy racked up an incredible 3,000 flying hours manning the guns on the RAF's heavy-lift helicopters over 17 action-packed years, including 12 deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq.

We supply speakers for corporate and public events across the world, and cater to both in-person occasions and online webinars.In her astounding career, Liz completed two deployments to Iraq followed by 10 deployments to Helmand province in Afghanistan during Operation Herrick, the codename for British operations there from 2002 until 2014. Waking in intensive care two days later, McConaghy's feelings had completely shifted; she realised she didn't want to die. In a conversation with BFBS the Forces Station about her award, Ms McConaghy spoke about her time with the MERT (Medical Emergency Response Team), describing that as "the highlight and the biggest privilege" of her career, saying: "As part of that duty, we were recovering the injured and wounded soldiers off the battlefield and seeing regularly. 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.

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