iraq 4

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Part 1 of 2

Two Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft have completed their first armed combat mission over Iraq, assisting coalition operations against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The Super Hornet aircraft, conducted an Air Interdiction and Close Air Support mission over northern Iraq overnight AEDT (5-6 October 2014).

The Super Hornets were on-call to attack targets as identified.

On this occasion the aircraft did not use their munitions and have returned to base to disarm and prepare for future sorties.

The Australian Air Task Group’s KC-30A multi-role tanker transport supported the Super Hornets while the E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft also flew over Iraq.

The flights were completed without incident and all aircraft have returned safely to Australia’s main support base in the Middle East.

The Australian Air Task Group is operating as part of an Iraqi Government-approved and US-led international coalition assembled to disrupt and degrade ISIL.

Australian Special Forces await Iraqi government approval to commence advice and assist operations in Iraq.

Australia’s efforts are in response to a request for assistance by the Iraqi Government in combating ISIL terrorists.

Photos:

1) A team of Royal Australian Air Force Armament Technicians work around a RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornet to load explosive ordnance in the Middle East. 

2) A Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18F Super Hornet Air Combat Officer performs pre-flight checks on a GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) on his aircraft. 

3) A Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18F Super Hornet Air Combat Officer fits his helmet prior to the first combat mission in Iraq.

4) Two Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F/A-18F Super Hornets follow a RAAF KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport along a taxiway to commence a mission in Iraq.

5) The crew of a Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18F Super Hornet on the taxiway prior to their first combat mission in Iraq.

6) A Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18F Super Hornet loaded with explosive ordnance departs Australia’s main base in the Middle East for its first combat mission in Iraq.

(11/11) “Six months ago my father disappeared. He left one morning and didn’t come home. That morning he answered the phone one time, and he said: ‘I’m fine, Aya. I’ll be home soon.’ And he never answered the phone again. You can’t imagine what this has done to my mind. I don’t know if he is dead. I don’t know if he remarried. I know nothing. All day and night I must imagine what has happened. I haven’t even told my younger sisters. I tell them that Daddy went to Istanbul to work but he will be home. They wouldn’t be able to take it. I still post old photos to his Facebook page so it seems like he exists. But it’s been six months, and they want to know why he hasn’t called. I promise he’s a good person, really. I love him so much. He loved me too. He always told me that he was proud of me and I was going to be something in life. But how could he leave me like this? How could he leave all of this on my shoulders? I’m twenty years old. I can’t handle all of this by myself. I don’t need him to work, or make money, but I need him. I need my Daddy. I can’t do this alone much longer. I’m getting tired. I’m a warrior and I’m strong and I’ve fought so much but even warriors get tired. I’ve been having crazy thoughts lately. I don’t want to do it. I’ve been through so much. I wanted to go to school and be something in life. But I can’t do this much longer. I’m alone here and I’m in a very bad place. I feel very scared. I never wanted to be the traditional Arabic girl who marries her cousin and spends all day in the house. I’ve worked so hard to escape it all. And I know it’s dangerous. But if things don’t change for me, I think I’ll have to go back to Iraq.”

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As of now, 4% of the HONY community has signed the petition supporting Aya’s appeal for American resettlement. It would only take 6% of the community to reach a million signatures. Please consider adding your voice. And if you know someone else who might care about Aya’s story, please consider sharing:

http://www.change.org/friendsofaya

“The 2nd Battle of Fallujah began on November 8th, 2004. The plan basically called for the entire 1st Marine Division to form a giant line and advance through Fallujah from north to south. The city was overrun with insurgents. My company commander ordered the platoon that I led to establish a forward position. Forty-six of us snuck across a highway at 3 AM to seize a building 150 meters in front of everyone else. It was a candy store. The guys were excited at first because the place was filled with chips and soda. And we were starving and thirsty. But all hell broke loose when the sun came up. RPG’s started slamming into the side of the building. We could see guys in black sneaking up all around us. My platoon sergeant was shot through the helmet and knocked unconscious. Another of our guys got shot in the femoral artery and his blood covered the floors. And we couldn’t get out. Every exit was dialed in with machine gun fire. You couldn’t even poke your head out. We were pinned down all day. And suddenly my company commander is on the radio saying that we’ve got to advance. And I’m shouting into the radio over the gunfire that we’re probably going to die if we leave the store. I’m shouting so loud and for so long that I lost my voice for four days. But he’s saying that we have no choice. He’s being pressured by his commanders, all the way up to the generals. And the generals are being pressured by the White House. And all my guys are looking at me because they know if I lose that argument, we’re going out there. And I lose the argument. And I tell them that we have to go. But instead of running out the door, we piled a bunch of explosives on the back wall, and we blew it out. And we ran. And everyone survived. Twenty-five guys were wounded, but everyone survived. A lot of that was luck. And a lot of that was our platoon and how good those guys were. But I also feel that my decisions mattered that day. And if I had decided not to serve, and stayed home, it could’ve ended much worse. So no, I don’t have any regrets about going to Iraq.”

Sherlock, there’s something I should say, I’ve meant to say always and I never have so I might as well say it now…You had me at ‘Afghanistan or Iraq.’
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What John should’ve said on the tarmac after Sherlock’s aborted love confession joke about his name being a girl’s name as a way to let Sherlock know he loves Sherlock, too