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Not sure if this is true or not, but I received it in my e-mail yesterday.

AN AIR FORCE OF ONE FLIES NOWHERE



Subject: Fight over Afganistan


Hi all,

I had an interesting conversation last night with a pilot who had just
gotten back from Afganistan. Thought I'd share it with you.

If you've been watching the news at all in the past week, you've probably seen the coverage of the on-going battle in earstern Afganistan. Several Americans have been killed. In the first night 8 Americans lost their lives as two Army helicopters came under heavy fire.


If you've seen the news, you'll know that the first helicopter was
approaching their landing site (their "objective") at night, totally blacked out, when they came under fire. The enemy, using high-tech night vission goggles, launched a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) at the helicopter. It hit, bounced off, and luckily did not explode. The pilot quickly took off and tried to get away and somehow a navy SEAL fell out the back of the helicopter to the ground approx 10feet below. As the first helicopter flew away, the enemy was able to capture the SEAL, who was still alive, and eventually executed him.

The pilot I talked to last night (for about 2 hours) was on-board the second helicopter. He was sitting in some kind of jump seat, slightly behind the pilot and co-pilot. Also on board were over 20 special ops guys. As they approached their landing site, they too came under heavy fire. The first two RPGs hit the cockpit, exploding inside. One severed the pilots left leg from the knee down, the second blew the co-pilots right arm off at the elbow. Both of these just feet infront of the pilot I'm talking to. The thrird RPG hit in the back of the helicopter, also exploded inside and instantly killed 3 Americans. These 3 were just a few feet behind the pilot I'm talking to. As the wounded helicopter landed, the back door opened and the rest of the special ops guys started to run off. The first 4 off the helicopter were immediately killed by heavy gunfire. For the next 14 hours, the remaining fought for their lives. Over the next 14 hours, this pilot was able to! use the radio and call in "Close Air Support" or CAS. He said the first jet he saw was the F-15E Strike Eagle. Followed on by F-16s and eventually the A-10, all coming out of Kuwait. All of the fighters dropped every bomb they were carrying on the bad guys, and when they ran out of bombs, they rolled in with the gun (yes even the F-15E). He wanted to thank us and pass on to our fellow pilots, that without the help of the USAF, everyone on that helicopter would have been slaughtered.

Two things became crystal clear to me last night.

This is no video game, and we're going to win.


Rob
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He said the first jet he saw was the F-15E Strike Eagle. Followed on by F-16s and eventually the A-10, all coming out of Kuwait.

OK, it's a great and motivating story but my BS detector is going off in a similar fashion to a few weeks ago when the supposed photos of al Qaeda terrorists being killed by an F-14 in the ground attack mode were being widely circulated via email (the phtots were actually Chechen separatists, probably trained by al Qaeda, killing Russians on a BTR with a command detonated mine back in 1998). Does it strike anyone else (except a Marine who is not an expert on USAF aircraft) as very odd that the story involves USAF aircraft sortieing from Kuwait across several countries and the Indian Ocean to provide CAS? How many times would they nhave to refuel an A-10 in the air just to get it from Kuwait to Afghanistan?
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It kick on my bs detector also, that's why I said I could not confirm whether or not it is true. But in that terrain, the A-10 would be the perfect attack weapon. The elevation is maxing out the choppers ceiling, so the only CAS possible is either Navy off the carriers or A-10's from another base. We were flying F-15's from Lakenheath to Afghanistan and that's an even further flight then A-10's from Kuwait. The part that really got me was why we would have an Air Force fighter pilot on a helo getting ready to insert SOF.

Rob
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Not sure if this is true or not, but I received it in my e-mail yesterday

-------------------------------

Sorry Rob, but it's not.

frog6
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frog6,

Thanks for letting me know. I'm sure ya'all have the real story where you are at. I'm sorry to hear about the loss of the Navy SEAL and all of our troops that we've lost.

Rob
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I'm an Army helicopter pilot. The Apache and Black Hawk and Chinook can operate just fine at altitude. Of course they have limitations like all aircraft, but I don't think they are flying at extreme altitudes in Afganistan. Chinooks and Black Hawks regularly go after stranded climbers on Mt Rainier (14,410'). At a Pressure Altitude of 16,000' and 0*C, you can still fly a Black Hawk at 80 knots at somewhere between 14,000 to 16,000 pounds gross weight...that could equate to something like a crew of three and room for 6-7 pax and about 2 hours of fuel. Chinooks can do even better. The Apache isn't far off these figures. I don't want to oversimplify the issue, but in general, the helicopters operating in Afganistan are still operating within limits.
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Does it strike anyone else (except a Marine who is not an expert on USAF aircraft) as very odd that the story involves USAF aircraft sortieing from Kuwait across several countries and the Indian Ocean to provide CAS? How many times would they nhave to refuel an A-10 in the air just to get it from Kuwait to Afghanistan?

The flight would be across only one country, but a country with which we don't have very good relations right now, Iran. But you are right, the distance would be prohibitive for anything other than the old F-111 or some such (Libya strikes around the Iberian peninsula!) Most likely, if the story has any factual basis at all, they are flying out of the bases we have established in Uzbekistan or Tajekistan. I do know there are AF CAS platforms flying around there. Anyone have any word on whether they are operating out of Kandahar?

Just to give you a sense, the Harriers launching of the ARG off the pakistani coast were flying 6-7 hr sorties initially when they were actually dropping bombs! That is about 4 tanker hits and a lot of seat time to make the ole' tush sore....but, oh what fun it would of been!

Todd
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