The three Air Force CV-22s that took fire last month while trying to evacuate US citizens from a violence-stricken part of South Sudan sustained “moderate damage,” according to US Africa Command spokesman Chuck Prichard. However, due to operational security concerns, Prichard told the Daily Report on Dec 30 he could not elaborate or discuss the timeline for their repair. The incident occurred on Dec. 21 as the CV-22s were approaching the town of Bor to fetch US citizens from the conflict zone, according to an AFRICOM release. Unknown forces struck the CV-22s with small arms fire, damaging all three and wounding four US service members aboard them, states the release. Prichard said the CV-22s “returned safely” to their forward operating location, which AFRICOM identified as Entebbe, Uganda, where airmen transferred the wounded to a C-17 for a flight to Nairobi, Kenya, for medical treatment. The CV-22s are assigned to the 8th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla., reported the Pensacola News Journal.
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.