Since its inaugural flight in July 1994, the MQ-1 series
has accumulated over 900,000 flight hours and maintained a fleet fully
mission capable rate over 90 percent, making it one of the warfighter's
most valuable assets. The MQ-1 Predator supports the enduring
network of worldwide ISR orbits providing real-time coverage and often,
the ability to execute a kinetic strike using AGM-114 Maverick missile
that are carried on board the MQ-1.
The MQ-1 is a medium-altitude, long-endurance, remotely piloted aircraft. Its primary missions are close air support, air interdiction, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. It acts as a joint forces air component commander-owned theater asset for reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition in support of the joint forces commander. The MQ-1's data link transmits a stream of video data captured by its high-tech sensors granting Commanders on the ground a decisive tactical view of the battlefield.
To date, the Predator has been key to capturing vital images, streaming video, and other spectrum intelligence at locations worldwide, many operations taking place outside of Iraq and Afghanistan. The Predator has been unofficially credited with killing key high value individuals (HVI) in regions including the tribal areas of Pakistan and the Arabian Peninsula.
MQ-1 Predators in Iraq
When terrorists tried
shooting mortar rounds at Balad Air Base, they didn't count on the
tireless, unblinking eye of an MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle
overhead, transmitting their every move to Airmen on the ground here.
Airmen assigned to the 46th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron here kept the Predator overhead July 24 watching the men while they confirmed what they were seeing with a joint terminal attack controller on the ground.
After confirmation, the order was given for the Predator to launch an air strike and moments later a Hellfire air-to-ground missile struck the terrorists' car when they fled, killing the three terrorists.
"The Predator crews go through the same targeting and approval processes as a pilot flying another strike aircraft before shooting a weapon," said Col. Marilyn Kott, the 332nd Expeditionary Operations Group deputy commander. "They coordinate with ground forces to confirm targets and coordinate on the best course of action for the situation.
Sometimes the best course of action is launching an air strike, other times it can mean remaining overhead to observe or follow possible insurgents as they move around the countryside.
"The crews flying the Predator report possible enemy activity and give the joint terminal attack controller and the ground and air commanders the opportunity to decide what they want to do with that information," Colonel Kott said. "They can agree that the activity needs to be stopped right away and can target the perpetrators."
Because the Predator has a long loiter time, it is an ideal platform for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, so the 46th ERS mission load has increased.
Four US Navy SEALS departed one clear night in early July, 2005 for the mountainous Afghanistan-Pakistan border for a reconnaissance mission. Their task was to document the activity of an al Qaeda leader rumored to have a small army in a Taliban stronghold. Five days later, only one of those Navy SEALS made it out alive.
This is the story of the only survivor of Operation Redwing, US Navy SEAL Petty Officer Marcus Luttrell, and the extraordinary firefight that led to the largest loss of life in American Navy SEAL history. Lt. Michael P. Murphy led the team of PO2 Luttrell, PO2 Dietz and PO2 Axelso. Luttrell fought valiantly beside his teammates until he was the only one left alive, blasted by an RPG into a place where his pursuers could not find him. Over the next four days, terribly injured and presumed dead, Luttrell crawled for miles through the mountains and was taken in by sympathetic villagers who risked their lives to keep him safe from surrounding Taliban warriors.
The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have given the U.S. Army's Special Forces, also known as the Green Berets, a central role in American military action like never before. Several hundred U.S. Special Forces operators helped a motley band of Afghan rebels orchestrate a stunning rout when they overthrew the Taliban after 9/11. In Iraq, as journalist Linda Robinson explains in Masters of Chaos: The Secret History of the Special Forces, Special Forces units were the main U.S. elements on the ground in the northern and western regions of the country, where they defeated government forces that outnumbered them many times over. Robinson tells the story of the Special Forces through the eyes of a few of its more colorful personalities, men with call signs like Rawhide and Killer. She follows them around the world from Panama and El Salvador to Somalia, Kosovo, and, finally, Afghanistan and Iraq. Surprisingly, however, she devotes only a few pages to the Green Beret-led victory in Afghanistan, even though it was arguably their greatest achievement since they were created after World War II.
Operations in Iraq
This sensational book reveals the true and compelling story of the Special Force units of the Coalition, such as the SAS, SBS and Delta Force who worked in the shadows, often unseen, unheard and unsung. It describes their missions behind the lines from the early days, well before hostilities opened formally. It was an open secret that groups were deployed probably operating in the western desert against Saddam's forces and the Scud missile threat. What was actually going on is revealed here and until now their roles and actions have not been described in any detail.
These are thrilling tales of incredible daring and endurance told by men whose courage and military skills are inspiring. The book also covers operations such as the spectacular rescue of POW Private Lynch and the secret operations to target Saddam and other leaders of his regime of terror.
Among Warriors in Iraq
Join Big Hungry, Kentucky Rife, Serpico and Jedi Knight for a harrowing journey into the heart of the Iraqi insurgency. A former Marine infantryman, Tucker follows the warriors of the 101st Airborne Division in Mosul and the 82nd Airborne and 10th Mountain Divisions in Fallujah during 19 weeks of urban warfare in late 2003 and early 2004. In declaratives one might describe as debased Hemingway on speed, Tucker tags along for counter-IED (improvised explosive devices) patrols and zero-dark-30 (predawn) raids, capturing the adrenaline-laced urgency of urban combat against a hidden enemy. His conversations with troopers are refreshingly authentic; his analysis of the politics of Iraq tends toward open advocacy for the Kurds and a separate state of Kurdistan. (Tucker is the author of Hell Is Over: Voices of the Kurds After Saddam.) But his gritty firsthand account is packed with detail: from the slow ballet of "scoping roof tops and alley corners," the excruciating tension of disarming IEDs and the frenetic choreography of urban combat to the children who are never far away and are always quick with a smile, a wave and an enthusiastic "Amerikee!" Several impressive accounts of the second Iraq War have appeared already from embedded journalists, but few are as personal and edgy as Tucker's.
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