Overhead Vigilance Helped Keep Final Iraq Convoy Safe

A lone U-2 Dragon Lady and an E-8C JSTARS were among the aircraft that flew the final intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance sorties over Iraq to guard the last US convoy as it drove into Kuwait to complete the US military pullout. “We were able to cover and support, from the air, the last boots on the ground going across the border, bringing a close to a nearly nine-year war in Iraq,” said Lt. Col. Curtis Bass, commander of the 7th Expeditionary Airborne Command and Control Squadron, a JSTARS unit, of the Dec. 18 mission. “It’s a good feeling to watch those last [vehicles] roll out; it’s a historic occasion,” he added. “The best part about it was it was quiet,” said Maj. Steve Eadie, a U-2 pilot with the 99th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron. “There were no issues as they were leaving. . . . I’m proud to have been a part of it,” he noted. Also providing overwatch for the historic final convoy were Predator remotely piloted aircraft and F-16s, Air Force officials have said. (Air Forces Central report by SrA. Sara Csurilla) (380th AEW report SSgt. J.G. Buzanowski)