Ten years ago, in November 2006, Al Jazeera English was launched. To mark that anniversary, we’ve created REWIND, which updates some of the channel’s most memorable and award-winning documentaries of the past decade. Filmed against the dramatic backdrop of Doha’s iconic Museum of Islamic Art, our team finds out what happened to some of the characters in those films and asks how their stories have changed in the years since our cameras left.
In this episode, we’re spooling back to Afghanistan in early 2011. NATO’s war against the Taliban was still in full swing at the time, with neither side disposed to show the other much quarter. As a result, every day added to the numbers of combatants and civilians being wounded or killed in the conflict – many of them in remote communities cut off from emergency medical facilities or in exposed positions right on the frontline.
Whether it was Taliban, a soldier within the coalition forces, or a child, it's heartbreaking to see human life taken ... or fighting for survival.
Few people understood what this meant in practice better than the medevac personnel, who were helicoptering out across the country to pick up casualties and often coming under fire themselves.
To find out what it was like on board one of these units, veteran cameraman Vaughan Smith spent two weeks with the paramedics of the US Army’s 214th Aviation Regiment.
His extraordinary footage was made into Blood and Dust, a much-acclaimed episode of People and Power, which revealed both the shocking reality of war and the remarkable even-handedness of those providing care.
As previous viewers may remember – and new ones will see – the film contains some deeply disturbing images right from the start.
But it also introduced us to a truly memorable character, Sergeant Tyrone Jordan, whose composure, compassion and skill under pressure was quite remarkable to behold.
Now five years on, Tyrone Jordan has agreed to tell REWIND how his life has moved on.