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I am Sergeant Juan Esteban Sarmiento, a helicopter crewman. My story took place south of Tres Esquinas, when we were ready to perform a mission against FARC terrorist members. The information we had was that there were 200 FARC members, including leaders gathered together.
We were in Larandia, Caquetá. My best friend was coming from San Vicente del Caguán. When we met, we planned the operation for the following day, without knowing it would be a definite time for us.
It was another operation I shared with my friend, SGT Miguel Farías. As it was our custom before an assignment, he said: you will take care of me and provide me with enough security for today
The first sun rays of the day merged with the aircraft engines running; there were twelve UH-60 helicopters; therefore, we got on to reach the target; Farías got on the first helicopter. The helicopters transporting troops of the Counter Narco-trafficking Brigade arrived at the zone while we were securing the perimeter to protect personnel landing.
In that moment, the bandits were running all over the place because of the offensive operation. Suddenly, I heard over the radio The pilot is injured, I need help, the voice came from one crewman of the first helicopter. Immediately, I was aware it was my friend and he was in danger.
Farias was shot on the head. The pain and anguish were wrapping my soul, but I continued with the mission. We went back, refueled and reloaded weapons. That day, I was flying for seven more hours.
Finally, we evacuated the area, and accomplished our mission successfully. Our premises are honor and courage in each operation.