JTACs Key in Seven-Hour Firefight

Two joint terminal attack controllers from the Washington Air National Guard’s 116th Air Support Operations Squadron in Tacoma played a pivotal role in helping US and Afghan soldiers fight off hundreds of insurgents who ambushed them in a remote valley in Afghanistan’s Nuristan province. SrA Michael McCaffrey, a JTAC apprentice, and TSgt. Tavis Delaney were operating with an Army unit when the ambush came. The two airmen directed multiple airstrikes, helping the vastly outnumbered coalition troops free the town of Do Ab from the insurgents and escape the seven-hour firefight without a single casualty. “If they hadn’t been there dropping bombs, I don’t know that we would have gotten out of that valley,” said Army Sgt. Edward Kane. “The enemy was getting closer and their shots were getting more accurate.” The firefight took place on May 25. (Nuristan report by Army SSgt. Ryan Matson)