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Avaunt Issue 5

Essential Kit

Par George Upton, Photography: Michael Thomas - 5 mn


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Up Close

The frontiers of first aid

Veteran of four tours of Afghanistan, combat medic Sergeant Hangdip Rai takes Avaunt through the essential kit that makes the difference between life and death on the battlefield.

In 2008, Sergeant Hangdip Rai was patrolling in Helmand province in Afghanistan – a Taliban stronghold that saw some of the fiercest fighting of the war – on a routine mission to resupply a nearby checkpoint. Since the beginning of the conflict in 2001, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) – munitions converted for use as road-side bombs – had become the weapon of choice for the Taliban-led insurgency, and were responsible for 66 per cent of all coalition deaths in the war.

The patrol was on edge, progressing slowly and scanning the ground ahead. At one point, having seen something suspicious, the commander – riding in the first of four armoured Land Rovers – ordered the patrol to stop and Hangdip and his colleagues to dismount and search for hidden IEDs. Hangdip was 10 metres...

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