February 15 in Russia celebrates the Day of memory of soldiers-internationalists and the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan. A remarkable fact: the first Heroes of the Soviet Union were pilots who rescued their comrades.
Today, the debate about whether this war was necessary still continues. Let us leave the long discourse to historians and political scientists and just get acquainted with those who honorably fulfilled their military duty in the Afghan sky and on Afghan soil.
As the Great Patriotic War touched every family of our vast country, so the war in Afghanistan caught every republic, every city, every village with its black wing.
We will remember them and we will remember ourselves because we cannot save the memory of the departed heroes with honor. I mean Vasily Vasilyevich Shcherbakov, a hero of the Soviet Union, who studied and graduated from several educational institutions, but none of them marked him with a worthy memory. Neither the Novoplot School, nor the Vitebsk Training Center, nor the Aktar Training Center, nor the Syzran School. There are many denials, but there is no result yet. Maybe someone, having read this article, will perform his civil feat and pay tribute to the memory of the Hero.
He was born six years after the end of World War II, in April 1951 of the year, in Belarus, in the village of Kazimirovo, where during the war years there was a Jewish ghetto and the civilian population was deliberately destroyed: information about the execution of 20 people of Jewish nationality was preserved in the archival sources. Yes, and the whole of Belarus was filled with the spirit of the last war, and Vasily's post-war childhood was spent among the village mounds, where they found cartridges and shells. Maybe that's why he wanted to defend his long-suffering Motherland and become a military pilot. But the path to the dream was long. First, he graduated from Novoplotzk Secondary School, which today, unfortunately, does not bear his name. And in Belarus itself one can hardly find any mention of the memory of the great countryman.
After school, he worked as a fitter, and then ended up in Vitebsk, in trainingaviation training center for the USSR Armed Forces, located in the village of Peschanka, 13 kilometers west of Vitebsk. Then he asked to be transferred to the Atkar UAZ DOSAAF. All the time he flew on Mi-1 helicopters, and every day his skill went to a new step. Finally, in 1970, Vasily received the rank of second lieutenant. Two years later, in 1972, he was able to pass exams for the full course of the Syzran Higher Military Aviation School of Pilots. And he received a diploma from the hands of the head of the school, Major General Valentin Vasilyevich Aleksentsev.
The major, and then the lieutenant colonel Vasily Vasilyevich Shcherbakov, heading the helicopter squadron, made 400 combat missions over the Hindu Kush mountains (this word means "Indian killer") during his work. As his colleagues tell, Shcherbakov had a unique professional sense, he had a truly talented pilot who allowed him to save more than one life. Among them was the crew of the downed helicopter, which the "dushmans" wanted to capture.
But Shcherbakov was able to land and save his comrades. This is how Dmitry Karshakevich, a correspondent for the Army magazine (1999 year), who personally met with the living Shcherbakov and wrote down his memoirs, wrote about this. Dmitry, as a journalist, was lucky to meet with the legend. I, in part, also because this history I heard in the Rostov Officers' Club, at a lecture devoted to the heroes of the Soviet Union, which was conducted by a sniper pilot, chairman of the Union of War Veterans and Military Service of the Red Banner Air Army, Viktor Grishin.
“A torn appliqué of torn rocks was torn by a high-mountain village. Anti-aircraft machine gun hit it from there. Suddenly, almost point blank.
Hands automatically took the car from a dangerous course. The sky swung, and a huge sky wave flooded the crooked mountains. The radio link is gone. In the headset hissed, gnawed a broken nerve. Before my eyes the tiles of the mountain peaks rotated, fragments of the sky, the sun pushed into a stone bag. But what about the slave? With Kopchikov?
- Commander! I see! I see Kopchikova! - the voice of the right-wing pilot doomed.
Report - as a sentence: Volodya shot down.
The helicopter Kopchikova lost height. From the punched tanks lashed kerosene, leaving a white trace in the sky. The car crashed, raising a whirlwind of dust. The surviving pilots jumped out and lay down next.
The ring of Mujahideen shrank.
Rage, young, desperate captured the heart of Vasily Vasilyevich: save!
The car went down.
- I will make it!
Grounded helicopter knocked dushmans confused. Exhausted with wind, sand and dust, they froze in amazement before the insane act of the Soviet pilot.
Shcherbakov did not hesitate. Jumped out of the car. Fell breasts on hot red earth. Bullets began to sing around, they zatokokali about something solid and switched to a screech, as if regretting that they did not find the goal. In response, the automaker twitched at the major, exhaled a sweet powder of smoke.
- On Board! - He shouted Kopchikov.
"Spirits" from all trunks thrashed at the soaring "turntable". The bullets pierced the body of the Mi-8.
Desperate to shoot down Shcherbakov’s helicopter, the Dushmans rushed with hatred and fury at the Kopchikov helicopter. With knives they cut the car. ”
The war in Afghanistan, according to 40 Army Commander Boris Gromov, would have been simply impossible without helicopter aviation.
“Do not argue. We must remember and know the history, ”said the chairman of the Morozovsky district branch of the All-Russian public organization of veterans“ Combat Brotherhood ”, lieutenant colonel A.I. Aleksenko.
Speaking to young soldiers who had recently arrived at the garrison, Alexander Ivanovich spoke about the history of the military-political special operation of the USSR in Afghanistan, which lasted from 1979 to 1989. We also recall.
The “Afghan war”, as it is more often called, took place in four stages: from December 1979 of February to February of 1980, the entry of Soviet troops into Afghanistan, placing them in garrisons; From March 1980-th to February 1985-th - conducting active hostilities, including large-scale, work on the reorganization and strengthening of the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA).
The irretrievable losses in the Afghan war of Soviet soldiers, originally published in the newspaper Pravda, amounted to 13833 man, later, taking into account the dead, dead from wounds, diseases and accidents, missing, this number increased to fifteen thousand.
The warrior-internationalist, reserve major Rafael Nikolayevich Yusupov also recalled his battle path to the DRA:
- I served in the Primorsky Territory when the formation of special units began to help the Afghan people. In the reconnaissance squadron was a political commander. Transport aircraft took us to Kabul. And since the task of the squadron is reconnaissance, we tracked caravans with armaments heading for Afghanistan from Pakistan and Iran. Despite the fact that the type of our aircraft was originally intended for reconnaissance, we had to bomb. Squadron lost four pilots. And only two of them managed to deliver to their homeland. Since the terrain is mountainous and desert, the search for the bodies of comrades was unsuccessful. In fact, there was a civil war.
We always remember the dead. These meetings have also become a tradition. I would like you, representatives of the younger generation of warriors, to honor them also sacredly, Rafael Nikolayevich concluded.
Warrior-internationalist senior ensign PN Sergienko, a conscript soldier, came to Afghanistan and served there from 1983 to 1985. By the way, the fulfillment of military duty at that time cannot be compared with the current presence of military servicemen in the army. Pyotr Nikolayevich shared his memories not only about his immediate duties in the service, but also about food, which, as a rule, consisted of dry rations, and overnight stays under the open sky. He showed the crowd his talisman, with whom he does not part now.
Aviation technician Vasily Khaykhan volunteered to serve in Afghanistan. I knew with my mind that it was not very good to leave a young wife with a young son in a closed military campus, but my heart was next to my colleagues who were raising planes to the sky there, in a distant country. And if Alla Mihailovna’s wife could convince him that he must do what the heart says, then Mom didn’t tell the truth.
- Yes, we drew an asterisk on the door of KamAZ for each successful flight and on the ground. I wrote letters from Afgan to my wife, left a place on a piece of paper, Alla finished writing something of her own, and then this general message was sent to the Poltava region, to Ukraine, - says senior stock warrant officer Vasily Vasilyevich. - But maternal heart can not be fooled. Mom, who had never traveled farther than the district center, suddenly gathered, and came to Georgia. So she found out that I was in Afghanistan.
There I provided work for the mobile oxygen station in difficult climatic conditions, because in the summer the air was hot up to plus sixty, in the winter there were frosts up to minus twenty.
But for a military man, the weather has never been an obstacle to the precise execution of a combat mission.
“This is how we live with him for almost 35 years: first of all, airplanes,” says Vasily Vasilievich’s spouse. - Probably, therefore, the question of choosing a profession has never stood before Oleg’s son. He knew for sure that he would follow in the footsteps of his father in aviation, and he would definitely fly.
Now the first class pilot, captain Oleg Khaikhan serves in Taganrog and flies the Il-76 transport plane.
“Do you remember how we wandered overnight / with a star-rimmed street? / Here, through a different star, opened by me, / Through the stencil on the door of the right ... "- these lines from the famous song" Driver's Letter "for Nikolai Babichev from the village of Tabunny is nothing but a part of army life.
When the whole family gathers at the holiday table, the granddaughter views with interest grandfather's awards, including the national order of Madagascar, received for the development of aviation in this African republic, and the medal "For Military Merit", won under the hot sun of Afghanistan. Someday, her grandfather will tell her how difficult it is to live far from her relatives, how painful it is to lose friends, how important it is that the world has a world from Shindand to Kandahar, says Nikolai Petrovich.
- A small column of five hundred by five meters by Russian standards, consisting of forty-five cars, each carrying fifteen tons of fuel for planes, overcame in four to five days. Above the column covered helicopters, we moved only during the day. In rare moments of silence, they posed for the cameras, but they failed to take some pictures across the border. Valery Karpov and Ivan Zemtsov served together with me. I know that the internationalist warriors had to become Igor Selivanov, Alexander Sizyakin, Pavel Vorobyov, and Alexei Chebotaryov. We, like no one else, were lucky enough to know the real value of strong male friendship. And let them say as much as they like that this war was superfluous in the history of the country, conscript soldiers who could live and live, heroically performed their military duty, died on a par with officers, showing courage and bravery, deserved state awards of the USSR and Afghanistan. Of course, it was very difficult for all of us to find ourselves in the civilian world. Everything has changed so drastically here! But parents from childhood taught that work will help to overcome any test, says Nikolai Petrovich.
Now sons Alexander and Denis are helping with Babichev’s household chores. They are already adults, all understanding people. Both are going to serve in the army and both are immensely proud of their father - a veteran of the Afghan war.