A HERO serviceman today relived the horror of treating casualties injured on the frontline in Afghanistan.
Flight Sergeant Tony Kyle, from Sunderland, is part of the Medical Emergency Response Team (Mert) in war-torn Helmand Province.
Mert is able to deliver pre-hospital emergency care at the point of injury and then transport casualties to the deployed hospital at Camp Bastion.
Recalling a recent rescue mission in Helmand, Flt Sgt Kyle – a nurse – told how he and the crew had to negotiate an ongoing firefight before their Chinook helicopter could land to help an injured person.
That came soon after another call to Mert.
“We quickly got a shout to a patient that had been injured, a local national patient,” said the 40-year-old.
“The aircraft was airborne within three or four minutes of getting the report through with the injuries for that casualty.
“When we got airborne we started to prep all the kit ready to receive the casualty, and we had a good few minutes to do that.
“On landing, the patient was brought to us by the ground call sign and the force protection RAF Regiment got off the back to make sure that the area was secure.
“One of the paramedics also got off to take over the handover of the patient.”
Flt Sgt Kyle, who has completed his second tour of Afghanistan, added: “The next mission that we were asked to go to, we got a report of two casualties.
“At that point we weren’t told any other information and prepped the kit.
“While we were in flight it was quite apparent that there was still a conflict going on and there was a firefight in progress.
“Because of this we had to hold over head until they could make the area secure for the Chinook to land.”
Flt Sgt Kyle has now just returned to the UK and is undertaking duties in the emergency department at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham.
Although every tour with Mert brought its own unique challenges and risks, he loves his job.
“It’s an absolutely fantastic job and it’s a pleasure to work on the Mert, something that you will never get in any job in any walk of life back in the UK.
“With that though there are stresses and every day we have a mixture of emotions.
“Sometimes you feel like crying and sometimes you feel like laughing, and it’s the team approach and the guys that help you out through every single day.”