08 February, 2006

US Air Power defeats Iraq -- with one hand!

I need you to write down Feb 8th as a day of great importance. On this day one man single-handedly defeated an entire air force. Allow me to give some history.

After the Iraqi annexation of Kuwait in 1990 a person named Col John Warden formulated a theory of air attack called “the five rings”. It was a methodology for attacking a nation like Iraq and defeating them through “effects based targeting”. Details aren’t important but a guy named General Horner took the plan and created Desert Storm. (Quick side note: the entire campaign air and land, was actually conceived by a USAF staff not the Army).

In the space of 100 days of air power and 100 hours of land assault Iraq was defeated.

But here is the important part. At the end of hostilities the Iraqi, while combat ineffective, still had useable air assets. For the next thirteen years even though Iraq was boxed in and hounded by US air power they still always had something that could fly. Even after 1998’s Operation Desert Jackal and its derivatives destroyed all attack fighters that remained in Iraq they still had something that could fly.

On Feb 8 while landing at XXX base an Iraqi C-130 being flown by Major Cybirr, USAF, had a fire light in one of the engines. Now we all knew it was a false alarm but still procedure is procedure. After taxing clear I directed the shut down of the aircraft using the Emergency Shutdown Procedure and then egress the aircraft. My Iraqi copilot apparently only heard me say “egress the aircraft” and was gone faster than the first beer I’m going to drink when I get home.

So, I did the procedure while my engineer backed me up (and was none to helpful either since he was coughing from the dust stirred up by the fleeing copilot). Here is the procedure. I can explain it to you when I see you next.


As I pulled the fire handle I noticed it was coming out of its travel much too easily and in a second I realized why. I had pulled the entire assembly from the overhead mount and was proceeding to bring the entire overhead panel down on top of me and the engineer.

At that moment the Emergency Shutdown Procedure was replaced by the Emergency “OH, $ # ! + !!!!” Procedure which involves the engineer and I fending off about fifty pounds of sheet metal, plastic, glass and wires. After extricating ourselves from that mess (both the Iraqi and American loadmasters and American navigator laughing uproariously and not helping) we proceeded to leave the now destroyed aircraft and I began considering which extremity of my faithless Iraqi copilot I was going to beginning cutting off first.

What you, my dear readers, must get from this anecdote is that after I had single-handedly destroyed the plane (literally, just one hand) the Iraqi’s no longer had any flyable aircraft in their air force. Must admit they currently only have three C-130’s anyways but on Feb 8th two of them were unusable and in depot level maintenance and so my actions destroyed their only flying asset. I had destroyed the Iraqi Air Force.

I expect at least the Air Force Cross and a book deal.


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