Published: Mon 12 Nov 2012

During a small ceremony on Remembrance Day, the Chief of Joint Operations, Lieutenant General Ash Power, presented the Australian War Memorial with an engine cowling from a coalition helicopter that crashed in Southern Afghanistan on 21 June 2010.

Quick-thinking military personnel had used the engine cowling as an improvised stretcher to extract the wounded from the crash site. Despite aero-medical evacuation and the heroic efforts by all involved in the incident, three Australian Commandos, Private Benjamin Chuck, Private Timothy Aplin and Private Scott Palmer from the Special Operations Task Group were killed as a result of the crash, and eight others were wounded.

Several relatives of those killed, as well as representatives from the Army, attended the ceremony at the Australian War Memorial.

Lieutenant General Powersaid he was honoured to present the engine cowling to the Australian War Memorial so that it might serve as a reminder for all Australians of the valour and sacrifice of their fellow countrymen.

“The significance of the remnant lies not only in representing the terrible loss of life that day, but also reflects the heroic efforts of the rescue personnel to transport the wounded, eventually allowing for their return home,” Lieutenant General Powersaid.

Dr Peter Pedersen, Assistant Director and Head of National Collections at the Australian War Memorial, said the engine cowling would be an important addition to the collection, telling the story of Australian’s involvement in Afghanistan and the dedication and sacrifice of Australian servicemen and women.

“The Australian War Memorial gratefully accepts this highly significant relic.It represents the enormous sacrifice made by our forces in Afghanistan, particularly Private Benjamin Chuck, Private Timothy Aplin and Private Scott Palmer, and the compassionate care provided by our coalition health specialists,” Dr Pedersen said.

The makeshift stretcher hung in the hospital trauma area in the ISAF Role 3 Medical Centre at Kandahar as a memorial to those who lost their lives and as a token of recognition to the health staff involved in resuscitation efforts on that fateful day.

It is expected that the cowling will go on display at the Australian War Memorial during 2013.

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