Four F-16s deployed to Balad AB, Iraq, destroyed an al Qaeda training camp near Kabala on July 21, following the targeting directions provided by Joint Terminal Attack Controllers on the ground. The fighters dropped 500-pound and 1,000-pound precision guided munitions on the terrorist facility, reports Maj. Robert Couse-Baker. Another air strike by a single Viper the next day took out a weapons cache in a rural area north of Baghdad using a single PGM that ignited the weapons inside. The Air Force currently has deployed F-16s to Balad from the 35th Fighter Wing at Misawa AB, Japan, the Oklahoma Air National Guard’s 138th FW in Tulsa, Ohio ANG’s 180th FW, and Air Force Reserve Command’s 301st FW in Fort Worth, Tex., and 482nd FW in Toledo, Ohio.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.