Helicopter crash survivor saved by love
Afghanistan Veteran Gary Wilson shares his inspiring story of survival at Anzac service
Afghanistan Veteran Gary Wilson shared his inspiring story of surviving a Black Hawk helicopter crash at an Anzac Service at Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway.
Lance Corporal Wilson gave the keynote address at the service, which was attended by His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley, AC DSC (Ret’d) Governor of NSW and dignitaries from the US, New Zealand, Turkey, Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste.
Wilson has no memory of the deadly crash near Kandahar in 2010, which left him with multiple broken bones, full thickness burns and a brain injury that’s resulted in permanent speech and movement impairments.
Three Australian commandos and one US soldier were killed. Wilson was not expected to survive and when he eventually woke from a coma, he faced years of intensive rehabilitation, including learning how to walk and talk again.
“I faced the situation I wasn’t supposed to survive but I did. Not unlike those men on the Kokoda Track,” he told the audience.
He credits the love of his wife Renee, his commanding officers and his “Army family” for pulling him through the dark weeks, months and years following the crash.
“I believe it was love; the love of those around me, enabling me to find hope when there was none,” he said.
Wreaths were laid by General Hurley, Hon John Sidoti MP, Minister for Sports, Multiculturalism, Seniors and Veterans and member for Drummoyne, Hon Craig Laundy MP, Member for Reid, Dr Genevieve Wallace, Acting General Manager, Concord General Repatriation Hospital and Professor Bob Lusby, Chair of the National Centre for Veterans’ Healthcare.
Many other dignitaries representing veterans, their families, defence forces, police, corrective services and community groups also participated in the wreath laying ceremony.
On Anzac Day we remember the Australian and New Zealand service men and women who sacrificed their lives in the great tragedy of war. We pay homage not only to the original ANZACs who landed at Gallipoli in April 1915, but to all men and women who have served their country.