Éditoriaux Défense Sécurité Terrorisme Zones de conflits Logistique Livres de référence Liens
Terre Air Mer Gendarmerie Renseignement Infoguerre Cyber Recherche

Fliers Share Enduring Freedom Experiences at Andrews Open House

Fliers Share Enduring Freedom Experiences at Andrews Open House

By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA, American Forces Press Service.

Washington D.C. -- (AFPS) May 17, 2002 -- Joint Chiefs Chairman Air Force Gen. Richard Myers called this year's Armed Forces Day "a bit special" because America's freedoms came under attack since last year's observance of the annual event.

"We should always remember those who defend that freedom," Myers told the crowd at the Joint Service Open House to commemorate Armed Forces Day at Andrews Air Force Base, Md.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Air Force Gen. Richard Myers greets Army Chief Warrant Officer Ray Huot while Chief Warrant Officer Michael Hardy looks on. The warrant officers, Black Hawk helicopter pilots with U.S. Special Operations Command, were on hand to answer questions about their aircraft May 17 at the 2002 Joint Service Open House at Andrews Air Force Base, Md.

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA

To that end, the Defense Department made troops who have served in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan available to the public and the media to share their experiences.

"See for yourself the unmatched excellence of your armed forces," Myers said to the audience.

Air Force Capt. Jeff Graham, an EC-130 pilot, didn't lose his sense of humor during his three-month stint in Afghanistan.

Graham is a member of 355th Wing, 41st Electronic Combat Squadron from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Tucson, Ariz. He explained that his unit's mission is to go into an area before conventional ground and air forces and render the enemy's communications useless.

"We're jammers," he said.

He told of one particularly humorous incident he remembers. "We were flying over Afghanistan one evening and people were pretty tense, because we knew we had an important mission and it's an intense situation," he said.

Crewmembers were keeping a close watch out the windows looking for enemy artillery when something caught the eye of a young enlisted airman who was looking out the right side of the aircraft.

"I was flying in the right seat, and he says, 'Look at that huge fire on the right side of the airplane,'" Graham said, barely suppressing his laughter as several of his unit mates chuckled nearby remembering the incident. "I looked out there and said, 'That's the moon, Dude.'"

Apparently the crewmember had been spooked by a bright red ball he took to be flame but was really the moon rising over the mountains.

Graham and other members of his unit were out of the country on a training mission Sept. 11, but it didn't take long for word to reach them. "My shock was the same as most Americans," he said. "I was like, 'Can that really happen?'"

Within 24 hours they were headed home to prepare for the mission ahead. "It was really eerie, because all the planes had been grounded," Graham said. "We came in through Canada and flew direct to Tucson, and the radios were really quiet."

Air Force Lt. Col. Bill Reaves, the squadron's operations officer, said he knew right away that his unit would likely be part of the American response to the Sept. 11 attacks.

"Our aircraft is an LDHD - low-density, high-demand -- asset," Reaves explained. "There's not a lot of us. Usually if there's something going on somewhere, we're going to be a part of it. We pretty much knew."

Still, Graham was humble about his role in Operation Enduring Freedom. "I was glad I could play a little role in what was going on to defend the United States," he said. "I definitely wanted to be home, back with my loved ones, but it was something that had to be done. We were all proud to be there, and we were all ready to pitch in and do our part."

Navy F-14 Tomcat pilot Lt. John Saccomando was aboard the USS Carl Vinson in the second month of a six-month deployment on Sept. 11. The aircraft carrier was airing CNN live, so the crew knew immediately what had happened.

He said personal communications from the ship were immediately suspended, but they could still receive incoming e-mail messages.

"We were receiving worried-sounding e-mails from our families, but we couldn't respond, and we couldn't ask them any questions," Saccomando said. "We were worried about everybody back here, and all they could think about was worrying about us."

The Carl Vinson was almost immediately reassigned to an area off the coast of Pakistan, and Saccomando took part in the first bombing raids in Afghanistan Oct. 7.

He described the surreal experiences he had approaching the Afghan capital of Kabul. Saccomando said he and others in his unit stood on the deck of the Carl Vinson watching Tomahawk missiles launching from the smaller ships around the carrier before they took off for Kabul themselves.

But F-14s travel a lot faster than Tomahawk missiles, so Saccomando and his squadron mates later took off, fueled three times en route, and were about 10 minutes out with Kabul in sight when the missiles began hitting their targets.

"We'd look down and see the explosions everywhere," he said. "And as soon as those explosions started, that's when the surface fire started coming up."

He said the enemy forces there were firing large surface- to-air missiles, smaller hand-held rockets, and large- caliber anti-aircraft artillery. "We stayed really, really high to try and stay out of their envelopes," Saccomando said.

He would go on to fly 40 more missions before returning to the United States in mid-December. He said the outpouring of support he received from his wife and family was unbelievable the entire time he was away from home. Even though he couldn't respond, his wife kept his inbox full. It was several weeks after Sept. 11 before the unit was allowed to send personal e-mails.

And when he got home, his wife had put a bumper sticker on her car that read, "I love jet noise."

 

 

Derniers articles

Verdun 2016 : La légende de la « tranchée des baïonnettes »
Eyes in the Dark: Navy Dive Helmet Display Emerges as Game-Changer
OIR Official: Captured Info Describes ISIL Operations in Manbij
Cyber, Space, Middle East Join Nuclear Triad Topics at Deterrence Meeting
Carter Opens Second DoD Innovation Hub in Boston
Triomphe de St-Cyr : le Vietnam sur les rangs
Dwight D. Eisenhower Conducts First OIR Missions from Arabian Gulf
L’amiral Prazuck prend la manœuvre de la Marine
Airmen Practice Rescuing Downed Pilots in Pacific Thunder 16-2
On ne lutte pas contre les moustiques avec une Kalachnikov...
Enemy Mine: Underwater Drones Hunt Buried Targets, Save Lives
Daesh Publications Are Translated Into Eleven Languages
Opération Chammal : 10 000 heures de vol en opération pour les Mirage 2000 basés en Jordanie
Le Drian : Daech : une réponse à plusieurs niveaux
Carter: Defense Ministers Agree on Next Steps in Counter-ISIL Fight
Carter Convenes Counter-ISIL Coalition Meeting at Andrews
Carter Welcomes France’s Increased Counter-ISIL Support
100-Plus Aircraft Fly in for Exercise Red Flag 16-3
Growlers Soar With B-1s Around Ellsworth AFB
A-10s Deploy to Slovakia for Cross-Border Training
We Don’t Fight Against Mosquitoes With a Kalashnikov
Bug-Hunting Computers to Compete in DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge
Chiefs of US and Chinese Navies Agree on Need for Cooperation
DoD Cyber Strategy Defines How Officials Discern Cyber Incidents from Armed Attacks
Vice Adm. Tighe Takes Charge of Information Warfare, Naval Intelligence
Truman Strike Group Completes Eight-Month Deployment
KC-46 Completes Milestone by Refueling Fighter Jet, Cargo Plane
Air Dominance and the Critical Role of Fifth Generation Fighters
Une nation est une âme
The Challenges of Ungoverned Spaces
Carter Salutes Iraqi Forces, Announces 560 U.S. Troops to Deploy to Iraq
Obama: U.S. Commitment to European Security is Unwavering in Pivotal Time for NATO
International Court to Decide Sovereignty Issue in South China Sea
La SPA 75 est centenaire !
U.S. to Deploy THAAD Missile Battery to South Korea
Maintien en condition des matériels : reprendre l’initiative
La veste « léopard », premier uniforme militaire de camouflage
Océan Indien 2016 : Opérations & Coopération
Truman Transits Strait of Gibraltar
Navy Unveils National Museum of the American Sailor
New Navy, Old Tar
Marcel Dassault parrain de la nouvelle promotion d’officiers de l’École de l’Air
RIMPAC 2016 : Ravitaillement à la mer pour le Prairial avant l’arrivée à Hawaii
Bataille de la Somme, l’oubliée
U.S., Iceland Sign Security Cooperation Agreement
Cléopatra : la frégate Jean Bart entre dans l’histoire du BPC Gamal Abdel Nasser
Surveiller l’espace maritime français aussi par satellite
America's Navy-Marine Corps Team Fuse for RIMPAC 2016
Stratégie France : Plaidoyer pour une véritable coopération franco-allemande
La lumière du Droit rayonne au bout du chemin





Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).

Contact