A number of the Iraq war's detractors decry the great number of troops used on the ground, especially given the degree of US technology. This recent entry by Michael Yon may serve to placate the critics. The story reveals far more sophisticated tactics and proficiency among our soldiers on the ground - and in they sky. Far more than just "air-raiding villages," as some politicians are quick to dismiss. Here we see 4 Kiowa helicopter pilots and one predator drone take twelve minutes to take out five terrorists planting a bomb. An excerpt from Michael Yon:
"The bombers were being watched. Invisible to them, prowling far overhead, was a Predator.
"The Predator is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) whose eye sees through the darkness. The night sky is the jungle where it hides. The Predator strikes with more suddenness and force than any tiger. I often watch the live feed streaming down into the Tactical Operations Centers (TOC) around Iraq, while crosshairs track the enemy, and the screen lists data such as altitude, azimuth, ground speed, and the precise grid coordinates of the target. The Predator carries a deadly Hellfire missile, but also has other weapons, like the crosshairs on its eye, which links down to soldiers watching the video and data feed. The soldiers have radios to other soldiers with massive arrays of weapons. With that combination, every weapon in the US arsenal can be brought into action. Unarmed spy planes, like the Shadow, often allow enemies to escape—the difference between success and failure is often measured in seconds. The Predator can launch an attack with its Hellfire, but the most devastating attacks are usually the result of closely-coordinated teamwork between soldiers on the ground and in the air, using information provided by the Predator above. Combat at this level is an elegant dance under a burning roof."
And my favorite part:
"Meanwhile, the Marines, realizing the pilot was hit, asked if the helicopter could continue the mission. It’s hard not to respect the Marines. After all, a pilot is shot and they ask the helicopter to stay on station. That’s why they win."
Read the rest.