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Published April 2, 2021

A harrowing video out of Afghanistan's Korengal Valley, splices both Taliban and US footage and shows the Jan, 17, 2009 incident in which Taliban forces managed to make a direct RPG hit on a CH-47 Chinook helicopter, and the pilot was able to keep it in the air long enough to make a hard landing, reducing friendly casualties significantly.


Combining video footage, SIGACT, and open source information we get an understanding of what took place that day. A CH-47 Chinook of (B/7-101 AVN) DET to 7-17 CAV was conducting sling load operations in the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan's Kunar province when it was hit by a Taliban RPG.


The RPG struck the left main fuel tank, engulfing the side of the aircraft in flames. The rapid combustion of fuel starved one of the main engines into failure. Instead of taking the aircraft straight down into hostile territory, the pilot managed to fly it approximately three miles to nearby Firebase Vegas, and made a hard landing just outside the outpost's perimeter wire. Those aboard the aircraft were able to quickly get out before the Chinook rolled belly up and continued to burn.


A US soldier, scout sniper for 1/26 Infantry Regiment, SPC Ezra Dawson, 31, was killed either as a result of the RPG blast or the hard landing. Six others were injured in the incident. Reportedly, one of the pilots ended up with several smashed teeth and broken hand bones. Considering the circumstances, it seems almost miraculous that everyone aboard were not catastrophically lost.


The initial Taliban video release of the incident was heavily edited and attempted to make it look like the aircraft was shot down with MANPADS and used footage of burning aircraft and wreckage from unrelated incidents. The US footage in the video was recorded by members of 1/26 Infantry Regiment of the 1st Infantry Division at Firebase Vegas.

Published April 2, 2021

A harrowing video out of Afghanistan's Korengal Valley, splices both Taliban and US footage and shows the Jan, 17, 2009 incident in which Taliban forces managed to make a direct RPG hit on a CH-47 Chinook helicopter, and the pilot was able to keep it in the air long enough to make a hard landing, reducing friendly casualties significantly.


Combining video footage, SIGACT, and open source information we get an understanding of what took place that day. A CH-47 Chinook of (B/7-101 AVN) DET to 7-17 CAV was conducting sling load operations in the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan's Kunar province when it was hit by a Taliban RPG.


The RPG struck the left main fuel tank, engulfing the side of the aircraft in flames. The rapid combustion of fuel starved one of the main engines into failure. Instead of taking the aircraft straight down into hostile territory, the pilot managed to fly it approximately three miles to nearby Firebase Vegas, and made a hard landing just outside the outpost's perimeter wire. Those aboard the aircraft were able to quickly get out before the Chinook rolled belly up and continued to burn.


A US soldier, scout sniper for 1/26 Infantry Regiment, SPC Ezra Dawson, 31, was killed either as a result of the RPG blast or the hard landing. Six others were injured in the incident. Reportedly, one of the pilots ended up with several smashed teeth and broken hand bones. Considering the circumstances, it seems almost miraculous that everyone aboard were not catastrophically lost.


The initial Taliban video release of the incident was heavily edited and attempted to make it look like the aircraft was shot down with MANPADS and used footage of burning aircraft and wreckage from unrelated incidents. The US footage in the video was recorded by members of 1/26 Infantry Regiment of the 1st Infantry Division at Firebase Vegas.

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