Airmen assigned to the 94th Fighter Squadron completed the first-ever F-22 Raptor "combat surge" over the last six months in skies above Syria, the Department of Defense announced on Wednesday, conducting an aggressive number of combat sorties over a single three-day period.
The squadron, deployed to the Middle East from Joint Base Langely-Eustis in Virginia to provide air support for U.S.-led coalition forces fighting ISIS in Syria as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, conducted 590 sorties, dropping 4,250 pounds of ordnance, and "deterring" 587 enemy aircraft during the six-month deployment.
While the Pentagon didn't specify when the three-day surge occurred, the DoD stated that the squadron faced "both enemy fighters and surface-to-air missile systems" as part of the U.S. response to the Syrian regime's illegal use of chemical weapons back earlier this year.
The F-22 seems perfectly suited to deliver relative air superiority in a battle space where U.S. and foreign aircraft are increasingly entangled in regular intercepts. Indeed, the first air-to-air kill in nearly two decades involved a Syrian Sukhoi Su-22 that earned itself a missile after messing with coalition ground forces, albeit thanks to a U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet rather than an F-22.
Things will only get dicier in the coming months. Russia's Ministry of Defense recently announced its T-50 fifth-generation fighter jet that saw testing in Syria in February was on schedule to make a comeback tour. This comes just weeks after Russia announced the transfer of the S-300 missile defense system to the Syrian regime following the shootdown of a Russian Ilyushin Il-20 military aircraft over the Mediterranean.
An Oregon Air National Guard F-15C Eagle that made an emergency landing on Wednesday ditched its entire arsenal of live air-to-air missiles before touching down at Portland International Airport, The War Zone reports.
President Donald Trump announced in December that he would withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, but Sen. Lindsey Graham has since made a strong push to keep a small residual force along the Turkish border along with troops from European allies.
The former Navy SEAL among a group of eight men arrested earlier this week in Port-au-Prince on weapons charges says he was providing security work "for people who are directly connected to the current President" of Haiti.
"We were being used as pawns in a public fight between him and the current Prime Minister of Haiti," said Chris Osman, 44, in a post on Instagram Friday. "We were not released we were in fact rescued."
It's a photo for the ages: a Marine NCO, a Greek god in his dress blues, catches the eye of a lovely young woman as her boyfriend urges her on in distress. It's the photographic ancestor of the much-loved "distracted boyfriend" stock photo meme, made even sweeter by the fact that this is clearly a sailor about to lose his girl to a Devil Dog.
Well, this photo and the Marine in it, which hopscotched around Marine Corps Facebook and Instagram pages before skyrocketing to the front page of Reddit on Thursday, are very real.
The photo shows then-Staff Sgt. Louis A. Capozzoli — and he is absolutely not on his way to steal your girl.