Joan Collins BETWEEN April and June an operative squadron of SAR 801 will carry out the first air evacuation mission (Medevac) in Afghanistan. The squadron consists of two pilots, one flight mechanic, one stretcher bearer and members of the Health Service of the Son Sant Joan air base. They will also have with them a head doctor and a support doctor from the maintenance squadron. They will be based in the town of Herat, in the north of Afghanistan where there are another thousand servicemen based. These are from Italy, Slovenia and, of course, Spain. They will use a “Super Puma”, one of the most modern helicopters and they confirmed that they are “very prepared” for the mission. One thing the members of this unit are pround of is their experience. The two pilots and the air mechanic have flown 8'000 hours between them. The rest know their jobs to perfection, having also dedicated thousands of hours to sea and land rescue. “We are going to a country where there is a relative atmosphere of menace, but we are prepared for this” said the Lieutenant Colonel in charge of the unit (he cannot be named for security reasons). They know that they will encounter a hostile desert and that on many occasions they will have to fly their helicopters at very low altitudes to avoid possible attacks. Their basic mission consists of evacuating medical cases and transferring the wounded as they did in 2002 in Mozambique during the floods. However, on that occasion there was no danger of attack. “We are more worried about peace of mind for our families than for ourselves as they know we are in a hostile place. We know it is not easy for them but this is our job and we are consciously prepared for it” they explained while showing part of the equipment which they will use in Afghanistan.