Thursday, May 27, 2010

Air sorties in Afghanistan through civilian eyes

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Here is an interesting look at a combat mission in Afghanistan, showing the complex expectations placed on U.S. Airmen in the fight.

Sometimes not firing can be tough. Pilots say it's hard to watch their fellow soldiers on the ground taking fire.

"We have to use restraint when it's tough," Col. Jack Briggs said. "We're listening to these kids on the ground, and they're taking fire."

Martha Raddatz of ABC News recounts her ride in an armed F-15 Eagle over Afghanistan, including what she heard on the radio as other fighters assisted ground forces, which were under fire. However, the jets, complying with U.S. policy of "Courageous Restraint," declined to use a bomb due to a school's proximity, but used machine gun fire.

"I request re-attack with one GBU, to the north 20 meters ... north to south ... one GBU, attacking 3-4-0," he yells.

"Negative, that is close to the building," we hear the lead F-15 reply. "The school to the south is too close for a GBU." The American crews of the fighter jets sound frustrated. "They sure are antsy to drop some bombs on friendlies," they say over the radio.

Her Reporter's Notebook entry includes video of the F-15, and a photo essay.

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