Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Fairchild crews participate in airstrikes against ISIL

by Scott King
92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

10/1/2014 - FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Fairchild aircrews are actively participating in support of the mission against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant known as ISIL.

U.S. military forces and partner nations, including the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, have been taking military action against ISIL terrorists in Syria and Iraq since Sept. 23, using a mix of fighter, bomber, remotely piloted aircraft and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles against ISIL targets.

Some U.S. aircraft participating in the operation include remotely piloted aircraft, F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18 Hornet and F-22 Raptor fighters, B-1B Lancer bombers and KC-135 Stratotankers.

From their deployed location, Fairchild crews are proud of their airframe and the role it's filling against the continuing effort fighting global terrorism.

"For over 57 years, the KC-135 has provided the logistical backbone to the U.S. air war fighting capability," said Maj. Gena Fedoruk, 92nd Operations Support Squadron instructor pilot. "The aircraft's purpose is fuel the fight, which she has reliably done for decades. The KC-135 is an asset that continues to perform well, excelling in the ever-changing operational environment and sustained high ops tempo."

Another important member of the tanker crews knows the importance of the Stratotanker.

"I feel the KC-135 has a very important role in fulfilling the mission because we are able to get aircraft where they are needed whether it's to their operating bases or to target locations and safely back home again," said Senior Airman Wesley Tinch, 92nd Air Refueling Squadron boom operator. "It's because of the Stratotanker that other aircraft effectively fulfill their role in protecting the freedom back home."

The KC-135 has provided air bridges since its inception in 1954. To name a few, it refueled aircraft in the Vietnam War, Just Cause in Panama, Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Allied Force in the Balkans, Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom and now continues to serve in the Global War on Terrorism.

Fairchild crews are also proud to be participating in air operations against ISIL.

"My role as an aircrew member on such a timeless airframe is beyond anything I could have hoped for in any lifetime," said 1st Lt. Marcel Trott, 92nd ARS pilot. "Being a part of something greater than the individual is a blessing in itself - it's purely my honor to serve in such a capacity."

"I'm extremely honored to have participated with my crew in leading the first KC-135 formation flight in support of the initial airstrikes in Syria," Fedoruk said. "It is truly fulfilling to be part of this historic moment in the fight against ISIL and terrorism."

Base leadership stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the deployed crews and their efforts over the skies of Iraq and Syria.

"Our crews are working hard around the clock delivering fuel to U.S. and coalition aircraft on the front lines in order to protect our freedom," said Col. Charles McDaniel, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander. "I'm extremely proud of the job they are doing and of the continuing role our KC-135s have provided to the warfighters."

(Some information for this article was provided by Air Force Print News)

More Airstrikes Hit ISIL in Syria and Iraq

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

TAMPA, Fla., Oct. 1, 2014 – U.S. military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Syria yesterday and today using a mix of fighter and remotely piloted aircraft to conduct three airstrikes.

Separately, U.S. military forces and a partner nation used a mix of fighter and remotely piloted aircraft yesterday and today to conduct five airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq.

In Syria, three strikes near Kobani destroyed an ISIL armed vehicle, an ISIL artillery piece, and an ISIL tank. All aircraft departed the strike areas safely.

In Iraq, three strikes northwest of Mosul destroyed two ISIL armed vehicles, destroyed an ISIL occupied building, and struck two ISIL fighting positions. One strike in the vicinity of Haditha Dam destroyed an ISIL armed vehicle while another strike northwest of Baghdad destroyed two armed vehicles.

To conduct these strikes, the U.S. employed U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy fighter aircraft deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of operations. In addition, the United Kingdom also participated in the Iraq airstrikes. All aircraft departed the strike areas safely.

The strikes were conducted as part of the President's comprehensive strategy to degrade and destroy ISIL. The destruction and degradation of ISIL targets in Syria and Iraq further limits the terrorist group's ability to lead, control, project power and conduct operations.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Airstrikes Against ISIL Require Patience, Precision, Official Says

By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30, 2014 – In ongoing efforts to degrade and destroy terrorist forces from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the United States and partner nations have conducted another round of airstrikes against fixed and mobile targets in Iraq and Syria, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Adm. John Kirby said today.

The overnight airstrikes totaled more than 20 and were fairly evenly divided between Iraq and Syria, Kirby said.

“We're delighted to be joined in these efforts in Iraq today by the British, who conducted two precision strikes against ISIL targets in the northwest part of the country in support of Kurdish units who are in contact with the enemy,” Kirby said.

The admiral added that the U.S. and its coalition partners have conducted nearly 310 attacks from the air, with more than 230 of them in Iraq and the remaining 76 in Syria.

And he noted one fundamental difference between the U.S. and its partner nations and ISIL: concern for civilians.

“We must choose, we must discriminate between targets that matter more to us in space and time than others and … those that run higher risk of collateral damage or civilian casualties,” Kirby said. “We care about preserving life -- we’re willing to be careful and patient and precise, even if that means having to wait for them to make a mistake or to make themselves more vulnerable.”

Kirby reported that the campaign’s targets range from the area around Baghdad west to Fallujah and across north central Iraq to Mosul. Syria’s east and north near the borders with Turkey and Iraq -- from Aleppo to Raqqah -- are also being targeted.

“When we say we’re going to after them, we mean it,” Kirby said. “But … while we continue to hit them where they are, it doesn’t mean that we can or even that we should hit them everywhere they are at every moment.”

The admiral also acknowledged military action alone will not win the effort, but he asserts that it should not be taken as an admission of ineffectiveness.

“One of the ways we know we’re having an effect is precisely because the terrorists have had to change their tactics … communications and command and control,” Kirby said. “If they aren’t operating as freely, then they aren’t as free to achieve their goals.”

But ISIL remains a threat, he added, as evidenced by their occasional successes in taking and holding ground.

“No one should be lulled into a false sense of security by accurate airstrikes,” the admiral said. “We will not, we cannot bomb them into obscurity.”

Mabus: Airstrikes Illustrate Unique Navy Capabilities

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30, 2014 – Recent military airstrikes against terrorists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant demonstrate the unique capabilities of the U.S. Navy, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said at the Defense Writers’ Group breakfast today.

The Navy and Marine Corps provide U.S. presence around the world, Mabus said. The USS George H.W. Bush carrier group was ready in the area, he added, when President Barack Obama gave the orders for strikes against ISIL targets in Iraq and Syria.

“We could move almost instantly when the president gave the order” to launch strikes, Mabus said.

And that capability can stay in the region as long as needed, he said. The USS Carl S. Vinson carrier group is steaming to relieve the Bush in U.S. Central Command’s area of operations shortly, he said.

“That’s what forward presence gives,” the secretary said. “We don’t take up anybody’s land, we can come from the sea and we can stay for a very, very long time,” he said.

The Navy continues to fly strikes and some intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions off the Bush, the secretary said. The Navy and Marine Corps team has flown roughly 25 percent of the missions over the region, with the Air Force taking the rest.

“Most of the [Navy and Marine Corps missions] were at the beginning because we were there, but as the campaign has gone on, I think the Air Force announced yesterday they have done about 75 percent,” Mabus said.

The Navy has spent roughly $100 million on operations against ISIL to date, the secretary said.