“On November 25, 2017, during a helicopter operation, one Cougar helicopter and one Tiger helicopter collided while the parachute commandos on the ground were in contact.
During the crash 11 people died in the cougar and 2 in the tiger. There were no survivors. When this took place I was alert medevac on a camp not far from the crash site. On the radio network I heard the crash report “loss of visual on 2 helicopters, saw a fireball, possible collision”, following this other commandos went to secure the area.
I had the misfortune to hear the names of my dead comrades one after the other as soon as their remains were discovered. I loaded the body bags into the hold of the machine and then went to pick them up. I did not sleep all night. It was the most painful moment of my career. Some of them were my medevac crew, the others were people with whom I had sympathized and worked with during the various deployments because for the most of it was not our first mission together.
I managed to reach my ex wife by phone and I just managed to tell her “They are dead. All dead!” Nothing else came out of my mouth, I fell for the first time at this moment there. A few days later I carried the remains of one of them for the last farewells to the French GAO camp before military honors were returned to them in France with the President of the Republic and their families and colleagues.”
– Corporal Ben Reungoat. Team Leader. French Paratroopers and PPRAD. Mali, 2017.
This story was documented by Battles and Beers. Every soldier has a story, and every story deserves to be told.
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