"Our Ride To The Frontline." An AntiWar Photograph by Jack Picone. During The Angolan Civil War, fellow photographer and kindred spirit Stephen Dupont and I would take Mi-24s which are large helicopter gunships, attack helicopters to the frontline where the fighting was. It was an andrelian chaged flight. They would fly ‘full throttle’ at very low altitudes. Sometimes I felt like I could reach out of the helicopter door and touch the tops of the trees we were flying over. Flying at ‘zero’ altitude was a strategy to make the helicopter harder to shoot down by machine gun fire and RPGs from the ground. We knew when we were under fire because the pilot would roll the chopper to one side then the other to lower its physcial suface area to the ground guns. When we landed and jumped out of the helicopter it was quickly loaded with the dead, wounded and exhausted troops being rotated out of the front line. It took off to return to base. I recall I always felt a little anxious waching it fly away. It was a confirmation that you were in Africa and in the middle of a war in the middle of nowhere.
The Angolan Civil War, began at the time of the country's independence from Portugal in 1975, was a 27-year struggle involving the deaths of over 500,000 soldiers and civilians. Initiated at the height of the Cold War, pro- and anti-communist forces in Angola set the stage for a proxy fight between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Though the fighting officially ended in 2002, Angola remains in economic and social turmoil with a massive refugee crisis and millions of insidious landmines still maiming and killing people. #War #Conflict #Soldiers #Helicopter #Gunship #Wounded #Casualties #Angola #Colonies #Independence #Civil-war #StephenDupont #Quito