Dustoff 7-3: Saving Lives under Fire in Afghanistan

Dustoff 7-3: Saving Lives under Fire in Afghanistan

by Erik Sabiston


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This book is for heroes.

Dustoff 7-3 tells the true story of four unlikely heroes in the rugged mountains of Afghanistan, where medics are forced to descend on wires to reach the wounded and helicopter pilots must fight wind, weather, and enemy fire to pluck casualties from some of the world's most difficult combat arenas. Complete opposites thrown together, cut off, and outnumbered, Chief Warrant Officer Erik Sabiston and his flight crew answered the call in a race against time, not to take lives-but to save them.

The concept of evacuating wounded soldiers by helicopter developed in the Korean War and became a staple during the war in Vietnam where heroic, unarmed chopper crews flew vital missions known to the grateful grunts on the ground as Dustoffs.

The crew of Dustoff 7-3 carried on that heroic tradition, flying over a region that had seen scores of American casualties, known among veterans as the Valley of Death. At the end of Operation Hammer Down, they had rescued 14 soldiers, made three critical supply runs, recovered two soldiers killed in action, and nearly died. It took all of three days.

These two quotes on the back cover:
This story is extraordinary.
Martha Raddatz-ABC News

Absolutely incredible.
Charlie Rose-CBS News

This one on the front cover:
One of the most decorated missions in aviation history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780989798365
Publisher: Warriors Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/25/2015
Pages: 236
Sales rank: 597,559
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.50(d)

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Dustoff 7-3: Saving Lives Under Fire in Afghanistan 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
ETrupkiewicz More than 1 year ago
Newsweek called it "one of the most decorated missions in aviation history." The mission in question? The near-constant flights of Dustoff 7-3 during Operation Hammer Down, which took place in Afghanistan in June 2011. Despite a November 12, 2012 spread in Newsweek about the missions undertaken and the unbelievable rescues achieved by the Dustoff 7-3 crew, few people knew the inside story, so to speak, about what had happened during those firefights. Fewer still, among those who did know, were interested in the limelight. Now, one of them has stepped forward with an offering meant to open the eyes of those who remained stateside, under the protection of those at war, to what happened during Operation Hammer Down, and meant to reveal, plainly and without arrogance, the incredible selflessness of those under fire who fought those battles and succeeded. Even the very first line of his soon-to-be-published work sets the tone: "I am not a hero." With great honor, allow me to introduce to my readers the soon-to-be-published memoir DUSTOFF 7-3: SAVING LIVES UNDER FIRE IN AFGHANISTAN by United States soldier Erik Sabiston. Sabiston is an unassuming soldier, proud to be a member of the United States armed forces and counted among those who ensure that we civilians stateside get to sleep peacefully at night. His memoir speaks for itself as he highlights precisely what he and his crew managed to achieve, despite adverse circumstances and looming impossibility, during some of the worst fighting to take place in Afghanistan in the war. His tone is more formal than mere conversation between friends and less exacting (but no less precise) than a work of nonfiction, as befits the accounts he relays with dispassionate focus and a certain blase matter-of-fact slant. He is simply telling the facts as they exist, and whether anyone likes them or not is not his concern. He is unapologetic, a little self-deprecating, and refreshingly able to lace even the tensest moments of his account with dry wit, making DUSTOFF 7-3 a remarkably approachable read. The memoir is indisputably pro-military, as it should be, given the circumstances through which Sabiston and his dedicated crew worked, tirelessly and without concern or regard for their own well-being, to perform more than a dozen rescues during the heaviest fighting in late June 2011. A line from the work itself speaks volumes to the devotion with which medevac units approach their work: "The cargo we flew on medevac missions was America's most precious asset: the nation's soldiers, the sons and daughters who depended on us for rescue and prompt medical attention" (163). The unbelievable selflessness, sacrifices, integrity, and honor of those Sabiston fought alongside, worked with, rescued, and recovered represents just a microcosmic glimpse of the enormous work of the United States military and its members, every one of them willing to lay down his or her life on behalf of another and to toe the fine line between danger and safety, friendly and enemy, life and death. DUSTOFF 7-3 is a work you'll be proud to have on your shelves and in your hands, and one that may remind you not only to be thankful for those who work to keep us safe and out of harm's way, but also to take pride in the greatest military force in the world. # # # Author: Erik Sabiston Title: DUSTOFF 7-3 ASIN: B00VH7BLOO Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this work from the author in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
SunriseMom More than 1 year ago
When I was twenty-seven, I audited a military history course. At the time, I was convinced I wanted to study, then teach, military history. The course disenchanted me, not with history, but with man’s unquenchable thirst for violence. What lacked in the course’s syllabus was material that demonstrated humanity. An account like Erik Sabiston’s Dustoff 7-3 would have helped balance the brutal war strategies. Sabiston’s story of his time as a Medevac helicopter pilot in Afghanistan offsets the dark side of war with examples of humanity, bravery, and dedication to life that exist in and above a battlefield. Sabiston’s viewpoints are refreshing and daunting. Daunting because they dissolve the detachment most people leverage when ingesting lethal events via CNN, BBC, etc. Reading the personal experiences of Sabiston’s crew forces an individual connection to the ongoing battle against ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the Taliban. The story’s source shouldn’t make a difference, but it does. Ideally, our minds would recognize the deaths major media reports as the death of someone’s sister, brother, mom, granddad, but our emotional safeguards erect walls and turn the deaths into spreadsheet numbers. Reading accounts like Sabiston’s demolishes the mind’s walls. Battles, bombings, troop movements, death counts begin to reverberate in the mind as individual lives being detoured or ended and a murmur of grace is said for the soldiers being evacuated by Medivac crews and for the men and women who risk their lives for golden rules. Dustoff 7-3 invites the reader into a weekend in the life of a Medevac crew in Afghanistan. Sabiston covers the difficulty of flying a helicopter, especially while being shot at with missiles; the integrated actions a crew must execute on missions; day to day life in the military; motivation for joining the military; and a non-political view of the Afghani battleground.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An instant classic. This book is real and in your face. I read a lot of military history, but this one is all action. I had a hard time believing the story, as it frankly sounded fake to me, so I looked it up and lo and behold this mission really happened. Being a fan of Inside Combat Rescue I thought it would be similar. Instead, I found these airmen to be unarmed, and constantly under fire. They never shot back once! The whole thing is crazy, I had no idea people like this did stuff like this. The first chapter almost brought me to tears. The writer hooks you and refuses to let you go. I soon found myself cheering for the soldiers as they risked everything to save people. Sabiston writes with shades of Joseph Conrad, a modern day warrior poet who poetically mixes heartbreaking stories of heroism, sacrifice and humor. No wasted paper. I doubted this one would stand up to Chickenhawk. It blew that book out of the sky. What makes it all the more incredible is that it's 100% true. I picked it up in the afternoon and read it until the evening. You will not be able to put it down, it's the perfect book for a summer escape.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kissablysweetone More than 1 year ago
   This is the true story of one medevac team and their work in Afghanistan.  They work near the area known as the Valley of Death. It was Dustoff 7-3's job to get the injured soldiers back to the base. After they were checked and treated, the soldiers then went to  the hospital. Each team worked with precision timing. The crew consisted of four soldiers and they went about their work quickly and quietly. The area was known for all of the action it saw.  The story is real and raw.      First, let me address the author's statement,"I am not a hero."  He's right. they are not heroes, they are angels with nerves of steel.  I felt as if I was right there beside Mr. Sabiston as they raced  from one injured soldier to another. Mr. Sabiston grabs you from the first page and I was yelling for more of the story.  Solid writing and making sure it's in-your-face, Mr. Sabiston does a fantastic job of pulling back the curtain and giving us a REAL peek inside. Having this book on your shelf will show others just how informed you really are. Get this one and some tissues because you are going to need them. This book was eye-opening for me. I had no idea the soldiers were working under such conditions.      I found no issues with this one.      I gave this one 5 cheers out of 5 because it gave real a chance to see the inner workings.   ~Copy of book provided by author in exchange for a fair review~
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't believe this actually happened. Why is this not a movie already?!!