Giant helicopters leave Alaska for battle in Iraq
Associated Press
Article Last Updated: 05/22/2007 02:45:24 PM AKDT

Several gigantic C-H-47 Chinook helicopters have left Fort Wainwright for a 15-month tour in Iraq. The departing aircraft are headed to war in advance of about 200 soldiers. Most are members of B Company Task Force 49. The pilots, crew chiefs, maintenance crews and medics of the unit will begin leaving for Iraq in July. First Lieutenant Benjamin Jackson says the unit will be supporting U-S Marines in western Iraq. Jackson says it will be the first time the unit has worked with Marines.

He says the mission will likely involve transporting people, supplies and equipment. The Chinooks have been used in Alaska for several years. The large aircraft have transported rescue teams on Mount McKinley and helped install base camps on the mountain. This year, the National Park Service chartered smaller fixed-wing aircraft to haul base camp gear and supplies.