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April 19 airpower: Horn of Africa mission continues

4/20/2007 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNEWS) -- Coalition airpower supported coalition ground forces in Iraq and the International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, in Afghanistan in the following operations April 19, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles performed a show of force near Saraw under the direction of a joint terminal attack controller. The F-15s were assigned to observe two individuals and conduct route reconnaissance in the vicinity.

Near Sangin, Air Force F-15Es flew reconnaissance along the ridgelines and valleys in an area where coalition forces were operating. The F-15 pilots received an update that a coalition foot patrol had encountered a mine. The foot patrol had taken cover in a building to avoid being attacked. The F-15s were directed to fly over the building in a show of presence to deter any attack. One F-15E also supported a convoy as it left the same area.

In total, 32 close-air-support missions were flown in support of the International Security Assistance Force and Afghan security forces, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Eight Air Force intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Afghanistan. Additionally, four Navy and Royal Air Force aircraft performed tactical reconnaissance.

In Iraq, F-16 Fighting Falcons performed a successful show of force for coalition forces near Tikrit despite a sandstorm and poor visibility. The F-16s also performed counter-improvised explosive device missions in the same area.

In Kumayt, Air Force F-16s were requested to perform a show of force and provide overwatch for a convoy that was reportedly attacked by explosively formed projectile devices. The convoy reorganized after the attack and continued their mission.

The ground commander asked for aircraft to examine the area near a bridge along the convoy's planned route. An Air Force C-130 Hercules crew, specially equipped with a Scathe View ISR system, reported that a group of approximately 40 people were gathering at the bridge, a natural chokepoint for the convoy. At the request of the ground commander, the F-16s performed a successful show of force and dispersed the crowd.

The F-16s were then assigned to observe an Iraqi Defense Force attack at coordinates provided by a JTAC. The F-16s observed two vehicles with approximately four passengers involved in activity around what appeared to be a hole in the road. The car's passengers then got back in their vehicles and drove off. The F-16 crews tracked the vehicles and passed on information to the JTAC.

Near Taji, Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs provided a show of force, dispensing 30 flares in support of a coalition convoy that was struck by an IED. At the request of a JTAC, the A-10s provided overhead coverage of coalition forces while a coalition quick reaction team was en route.

Near Balad, Air Force F-16s searched for anti-Iraqi forces and IEDs. The F-16s were assigned by a JTAC to scan for suspected shooter locations in support of coalition forces.

Other Air Force F-16s supported coalition forces disarming an IED and receiving small arms fire near Balad. The F-16s provided reconnaissance of the location and observed coalition forces raiding a house.

Near Baqubah, Air Force F-16s provided support for coalition forces receiving small arms fire. The F-16 pilots reported a possible look-out individual on a roof top and observed someone walking to each corner of the roof. They also reported a possible IED along the coalition forces route. 

Air Force F-16s continued providing counter-IED and counter-insurgent overwatch near Baghdad. At the direction of a JTAC, the F-16s were assigned overwatch of Army vehicles in a convoy.

RAF Tornado GR-4 Tornadoes provided overwatch and route sweep for a coalition convoy hit by an IED near Al Amarah. The GR-4s performed a show of presence. A JTAC reported that the ground forces were reassured by the GR-4s' presence in the area.

In total, coalition aircraft flew 49 close-air-support missions for Operation Iraqi Freedom. These missions supported coalition ground forces, protected key infrastructure, provided overwatch of reconstruction activities and helped to deter and disrupt terrorist activities.

Fourteen Air Force and Navy ISR aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Iraq. Additionally, three Air Force and RAF fighter aircraft performed tactical reconnaissance. 

Air Force C-130s and C-17 Globemaster IIIs provided intra-theater heavy airlift support, helping to sustain operations throughout Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa. More than 150 airlift sorties were flown; more than 275 tons of cargo were delivered, and approximately 2,775 passengers were transported.

Coalition C-130 crews from Australia, Canada and Iraq flew in support of OIF or OEF.

On April 18, Air Force, French air force and RAF tankers flew 38 sorties and off-loaded more than 2.2 million pounds of fuel. 

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