Coalition aircrews conducted several air strikes over the weekend in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. On Jan. 29, Air Force F-16s and Navy F/A-18s and F-14s provided close air support for coalition troops under fire by anti-Iraqi forces near Al Iskandariyah, Balad, and Ramadi, Iraq. The Navy fired off one precision-guided munition. On Jan. 28, various fighters flew CAS sorties for coalition troops near Al Taji, Baghdad, Balad, Bayji, Mosul, and Tikrit in Iraq, while, in Afghanistan, an Air Force B-52, flying CAS, fired two PGMs, striking enemy forces near Orgun-E. On Jan. 27, in Iraq, a mix of USAF and Navy fighters flew CAS sorties, aiding coalition troops near Balad, Bayji, Mosul, Salman Pak, and Samarra. In Afghanistan, USAF A-10 CAS sorties helped coalition troops under fire from enemy forces near Asadabad.
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.