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When it comes to the participation in Iraq and Afghansitan, I don't think the Air Force receives the respect that it deserves. With jokes like "the Chair Force", "Air Farce", etc.
While we don’t see or hear much about our Air Force activity, let me provide a typical day’s aerial activity.
Our deployed Air Force members fly and support about 400 combat sorites (missions) each day. More than half of these are strike and reconnaissance missions providing close air support to our ground forces.
Our U.S. Air Force has also been engaged in direct combat. Lest we forget, the Air Force that went downtown Baghdad on the evening of 16 January 1991 at the start of Desert Storm. The 'Mother of all Battles'.
And did you know the USAF have their own Special-Ops team? They're called Pararescuemen, or Parajumpers, also known as PJs, and are the only Department of Defense specialty specifically trained and equipped to conduct conventional or unconventional rescue operations.These "air commandos," like their Army and Navy counterparts, use darkness as a cloaking device that helps them achieve maximum advantage against enemies who lack the technology and training to fight at night. They are among the most highly trained emergency trauma specialists in the U.S. military.
Air Force SOF are rarely the trigger-pullers, so much of the attention for wartime tends to go to the combat forces that the air commandos support. Other special operator units, such as the Navy SEALs and the Army's Special Forces, Rangers, and Delta Force, produce more news. The USAF Special Operations Forces stay in the shadows. In a way, Air Force operators are more discreet than special units from other services and so do not receive much recognition. Pararescuemen continue to deploy so "That Others May Live"
They also have other special units called Combat Weathermen that spend dangerous times in remote outposts gathering the real-time, eyes-on, ground truth about conditions that can critically impact the mission.
They’re tough guys who get it done no matter how rough it gets. To give you some idea how inportant these guys are, They are currently listed on the Global Military Force Policy low-density, high-demand asset list.
During the early stages of Operation Iraqi Freedom, it began with heavy aerial attacks on Baghdad and other cities. This was publicized in advance by the Pentagon as an overwhelming barrage meant to instill "shock and awe". However, the Air Force were also on the ground with combat weather troops. Tasked with collecting weather data, the team endured sandstorms that buried them in their sleeping bags. They survived 12 missile attacks, one which destroyed their humvee, and endured almost continuous small-arms attack
Every day A-10s deliver 30 mm; we have a squadron of A-10s up at Al Asad in Western Iraq. F-16s are dropping Joint Direct Attack Munitions and delivering ordnance, 20 mm, every day. Predators are delivering Hellfires tactical missile as well as imagery every day. And, oh yes, for a few years now, C-130s have been replacing truck convoys to eliminate much of the threat from roadside bombs. Essentially, this has taken over 3,500 trucks and 8,600 personnel off the dangerous roads.
Our Air Force has now been heavily engaged in aerial combat in Afghanistan and Iraq since Day One in both areas of operations.
The Air Force also stand prepared for rapid response in conflict around the globe as our nations serve and shield. They fly, fight, and dominate in three warfighting domains: air, space, and cyberspace, Go Air Force!
There is much more I could write about our U.S. Air Force at war. But I'll just add that today we have nearly 125,000 airmen of all ranks engaged around the world. There are 61,000 troops forward deployed in Europe, the Pacific and other locations, with another 27,000 forward deployed from their home stations in the United States. Many of these airmen have been deployed numerous times to Iraq and Afghanistan and have developed into this nation’s most combat-experienced Air Force. These marvelous young men and women are engaged daily in our Global War on Terror. They need our continuing understanding and support. Now show them your support.
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Thanks for this, Mrs. G! And don't forget the TAC-P guys... they're truly at "the tip o' the spear!"Posted by Buck at November 17, 2008 04:47 PM
Well I wasn't able to get a trackback working. Here's a linky to my post in lieu of trackback.Posted by Laurie at November 17, 2008 05:17 PM
I linked ya, too, Mrs. G... in an update to this post.Posted by Buck at November 17, 2008 06:58 PM
TAC-P's were for my next post, see I have a special fondness for them ;PPosted by Mrs G at November 18, 2008 06:53 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(4) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)