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U.S. air power strikes suspected terrorists in Baghdad eliminating enemy fire

2/10/2007 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNEWS) -- In response to a call for air power, a U.S. Air Force F-16 Falcon aided U.S. ground forces by delivering precision munitions on eight hostile personnel in an air strike south of Baghdad Feb. 8.

The F-16 pilot, launched from the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, Balad Air Base, responded to a U.S. Air Force Joint Terminal Attack Controller's, or JTAC, call at approximately 7 p.m. when ground forces came under enemy fire. The ground forces had been engaged in a raid targeting Al-Qaeda terrorists and foreign fighters in Arab Jabour, a mostly Sunni Muslim suburb south of Baghdad.

The strike by an air component F-16 demonstrated the responsiveness of synchronized and integrated air power, which enables ground operations throughout the Central Command area of responsibility. During this strike, the pilot precisely delivered a Guided Bomb Unit-38, a 500-pound Joint Direct Attack Munition, or JDAM, to the location indicated by the U.S. Air Force JTAC embedded with ground forces.

The direct hit destroyed the building where eight hostile personnel barricaded themselves, neutralizing the threat. All eight were killed while no U.S. or coalition forces or Iraqi civilians were injured in the attack.

The aircraft's targeting pod, an attachable device under the wing, confirmed an accurate strike, as the JTAC reported "weapon impacted target and the building was destroyed." The JTAC further reported the enemy fire stopped after weapon impact.

"In this case, when the USAF JTAC attached to the ground unit reported troops were under fire, our priority was to deliver air power with lethal precision," said Lt. Gen. Gary L. North, Combined Forces Air Component Commander. "The pilot was overhead and the threat removed within minutes of the JTAC's call. This fulfills the contract between the air component and our ground forces."

JTACs are highly trained and qualified Airmen who provide final attack control to aircrew when aircraft are inbound to a target. These professionals ensure the aircrew identifies and attacks the correct target, minimizing the risk to friendly ground forces and preventing unwanted collateral damage.

Operating on the forward edge of the battle area, JTACs coordinate with Theater Air Ground System elements through the use of state-of-the-art communications and maintain proficiency in the tactics, techniques and procedures of their aligned Army units.

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