Former Member of the Chinook aircrew of the Royal Air Force & Author of Chinook Crew 'Chick': Highs and Lows of forces life from the longest serving female RAF Chinook force crewmember.
Liz McConaghy was the longest serving female crewman on the Royal Air Force Chinook Fleet spanning a 17 year career flying on the aircraft.
Originally from a small town in Co. Down Northern Ireland she attended RAF Cranwell on her 19th birthday to begin her exciting career thereafter on Chinook Helicopters.
She was the youngest aircrew to deploy to Iraq aged just 21 and also the only female crewman on the Chinook wing for 4 years, so her story is completely unique.
Her career saw her amass 2 deployments to Iraq and 10 deployments to Helmand Afghanistan in support of Operation Herrick which gave her an insightful and very personal perspective on war.
Upon leaving the RAF in 2019 Liz slowly became unravelled after a series of traumatic events that compounded her PTSD. This led to her trying to end her life in Aug 2020.
She survived and went into the Veterans Mental Health care system to help her deal with her demons and finally lay the images she had seen on the battlefield to rest. During this time she began writing poetry and subsequently an autobiography to help her get her thoughts out of her head.
Chinook Crew Chick was released in Sept 2022 and went to Amazon Bestseller within 3 weeks. It is an honest and humorous account of her ‘best of times and worst of times’ and how her experiences flying on the Chinook have changed and moulded her into the woman she has become.
From dodging bullets to saving soldiers and witnessing the brutality and loss of war, she writes how she found herself bringing the battlefield home, despite her fighting days being over.
Liz’s story offers hope to those who have also found themselves in the darkest of places, who are looking for the tools within themselves to begin to rebuild a pathway to a new life. She is now an ambassador for mental health and specifically PTSD with Veterans. Liz stands as an example that PTSD does not have to be your identity, it can simply be a chapter of your life that can be learned from and most importantly moved on from.