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November 09, 2004

"About damn time...let's do it."

That's what's going through Hog drivers' heads in pre-mission briefs right now.

Urban CAS used to be an oxymoron.

Not any more.

I'll be looking for some links and photos later on today to support my comments on the subject--my two cents on Fallujah from a close air support prespective. In the meantime, here are a few things to ponder as our thoughts and prayers go out to the warriors on the ground who are, as we speak, stomping on the serpent's head...

We now have free-fall munitions (bombs) that can collapse a building but leave those surrounding it destroyed; collateral damage minimal.

We have fixed-wing platforms with point-and-shoot weapons that have proven extremely effective in close-quarters battle (GAU-8 cannon to name one).

Combined arms is improving at an exponential rate...pilots can now give immediate feedback to ground maneuver units on a scale heretofore unheard of...John Boyd's OODA loop just got tight as a gnat's a**hole...heh.

Situational awareness, once obtained by sticking your head around a corner of a building (and hoping it wouldn't get shot off) is now being expanded (again, exponentially) by extra sets of fearless eyes...UAVs...and guess who gets the data? Not only the guy in the TOC...but the guy pulling the trigger, both on the ground and in the air. Right now, the Marine and infantryman is getting it faster that the CAS pilot, but give us time...

There were major lessons learned by USAF C2 elements directly supporting V Corps during the major ground ops phase of the Iraqi campaign. Even better, these lessons weren't lost on the Air Ops Center types either (the ones who orchestrate airpower in the overall campaign). Now coordination is more direct, real-time and relevant to the maneuver commander's needs.

Bad news: we keep relearning these lessons.

Good news: The experience, knowledge and adaptation that occurred in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM hasn't had a chance to be forgotten.

Better news: the air guys are itching for this fight as much as the ground guys are...we probably won't get al Zarqawi, but you never know. That's icing on the cake...

What will satisfy us most is the liberation of thousands more and the obvious message being sent to the thugs, the killers of women and children, the primordial head-hackers who are an embarrasment to the human race: "Time's up. Surrender or die. Do your worst; your existence is finite and today is your last."

Cue Terminator music...we have been unleashed.