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Friday, August 10, 2007

Balad F-16s destroy terrorist training camp

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's Thoughts.

27 July 07
by Maj. Robert Couse-Baker
332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
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BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq (AFPN) -- F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing here destroyed an al-Qaida training camp southwest of Baghdad July 21.

In a coordinated attack, joint air terminal controllers on the ground cleared seven F-16s to drop 500-pound and 1,000-pound guided bombs on the terror complex near Karbala.

The precision-guided weapons destroyed the target, degrading al-Qaida's ability to mount attacks on the Iraqi government, coalition forces and innocent civilians.

The destruction of the terrorist facility is part of aggressive and comprehensive operations to hunt down, capture or kill terrorists trying to prevent a peaceful and stable Iraq, said Col. Charles Moore, the 332nd Expeditionary Operations Group commander. "Our Airmen and other coalition forces are helping Iraq achieve a stable government and ultimately, helping the United States and our allies to defeat terrorism," he said.

A large part of the 332nd AEW's combat effectiveness stems from the Air Force's culture of excellence. "We train day-to-day to make sure when we are called upon to deliver, we do it with precision and professionalism," said Capt. Kevin Hicok, a pilot with the 13th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, deployed here from Misawa Air Base, Japan. "Deliberate coordination and careful planning goes into every weapons drop," Captain Hicok said, "to ensure that we have a positive ID on the target and that everyone is on the same page."

The recent increase in air operations is part of the coalition's increasing pressure on violent extremists, primarily in Baghdad and nearby areas. In a separate air strike north of Baghdad July 22, another F-16 from Balad AB dropped a precision-guided weapon on a terrorist weapons cache in a rural area, destroying it and detonating the explosives stored inside.

"I could not be prouder of the way our Airmen performed on Saturday," Colonel Moore said. "The events of this past weekend once again demonstrate the Air Force's ability to deliver decisive combat airpower any place and at any time."

Photo - An F-16 Fighting Falcon takes off for a combat mission in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom July 22 at Balad Air Base, Iraq. The two F-16s are deployed from the Oklahoma Air National Guard's 138th Fighter Wing at the Tulsa International Airport. F-16s from the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing destroyed an al-Qaida training camp southwest of Baghdad July 21. Photo Senior Airman Olufemi A. Owolabi
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