Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Iran shows off what it says is wreckage of the U.S. drone it shot down
Iran made a trophy show Friday of purported wreckage from a downed U.S. drone as President Donald Trump said he called off a retaliatory strike to avoid killing Iranians.
Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) aerospace force, posed with debris that officials said was pulled from the sea near the Straits of Hormuz and taken to Tehran for display, according to Iran's Tasnim news agency.
The military had said that unmanned aerial vehicle system shot down Thursday over the Gulf was a $100-million plus Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk operated by the Navy, but Iranian officials described it as a similar Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton, Tasnim reported.
Video from Iran's state-sponsored news agency Press TV purported to show the launch of the surface-to-air missile that shot down the drone. It depicted a truck-mounted Khordad 3 air defense system firing a Sayyad 2 missile at the target that allegedly violated Iranian airspace. U.S. officials have maintained that the Global Hawk was at least 21 miles outside Iranian airspace when it went down and did not enter Iranian airspace at any point during its flight.
The shootdown of the Global Hawk, following the explosions last week that set two tankers ablaze in the Gulf of Oman, marked the latest escalation in the crisis in the region and raised concerns about how the U.S. would respond.
In a series of tweets Friday morning and in an interview with NBC's Chuck Todd for the "Meet the Press" program on Sunday, Trump said he had given the military the go-ahead for a retaliatory strike at the launch site and radar installations supporting the missile that shot down the drone, but called the operation off about 10 minutes before it was set to begin.
He said no warplanes had been launched -- possibly referring to F/A-18 Super Hornets from the aircraft carrier Lincoln in the Gulf region -- before he gave the order to stand down, out of concern that the action would lead to a wider war.
When asked if strike aircraft were already on the way to targets, Trump said, "No, but they would have been pretty soon, and things would have happened to a point where you would not turn back, you could not turn back."
In segments of the NBC interview that were aired Friday on MSNBC, Trump said he began having concerns about how many Iranians might be killed in retaliation for the downing of an unmanned drone.
The military was "ready to go, subject my approval," Trump said.
But then, he said, he asked his generals: "I want to know something before you go. How many people would be killed, in this case Iranians?"
When the unnamed generals said about 150, Trump said he thought about it for a second.
"And I said, you know what -- they shot down an unmanned drone, plane, whatever you want to call it, and here we are sitting with 150 dead people that would have taken place probably within a half an hour after I said, 'go ahead,'" Trump said. "And I didn't like it, I didn't think, I didn't think it was proportionate."
In a series of tweets earlier, Trump made the same point, saying that the military was "cocked and loaded" for airstrikes. But, he said, he intervened at the last minute to avoid inflicting casualties.
"I am in no hurry" to attack Iran, Trump said, but added that efforts by the regime to acquire nuclear weapons would change his calculus.
In what may have been an effort to show the multiple-target capabilities of Iran's air defenses, Hajizadeh, the IRGC aeroforce commander, said his systems could have shot down a U.S. P-8Poseidon surveillance aircraft and killed Americans Thursday, but he chose instead to target the Global Hawk to avoid inflicting casualties.
The P-8 anti-submarine, anti-surface warfare aircraft "was also violating our airspace and we could have downed it too," Hajizadeh said, according to a report from Iran's Fars news agency. But the Global Hawk was targeted "because our aim was to warn the terrorist forces of the U.S.," rather than start a conflict, Fars reported.
In a statement late Friday, Lt. Col. Earl Brown, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, said that the U.S. thus far had been unsuccessful in recovering any debris from the Global Hawk.
He said the drone was hit by the missile at high altitude and, consequently, left a large debris field.
"We dispatched assets to recover debris. However, due to a large debris field and high winds and heavy seas, we have no reports of recovered debris," Brown said in the statement, released in question-and-answer form.
He did not respond directly to Iranian charges that the U.S. was warned several times prior to the missile launch by the IRGC that the Global Hawk and the P-8 Poseidon were in violation of Iranian airspace.
"We are aware of the IRGC's claims," Brown said. "At no point in time did any U.S. aircraft enter Iranian airspace on June 19, 2019. U.S. aircraft routinely operate in the region, and do so in a manner consistent with international law."
Brown also confirmed that the P-8 Poseidon was in the same general area as the Global Hawk
"Yes, the U.S. routinely flies missions in the area, and does so in a manner consistent with international law," he said.
This article originally appeared on Military.com
More articles from Military.com:
- Bill Would Require Spanish Translations on All VA Fact Sheets
- Online Program is Helping Military Members and Spouses Get Law Degrees
- All Navy Carriers, Amphibs to Get F-35 Precision Landing System
SEE NEXT: Trump confirms that the US was 10 minutes away from striking Iran before he called off the attack
WATCH ALSO: Iran's New Fighter Is An Omen Of Things To Come
- CENTCOM says Iran targeted US military drones twice this month ... ›
- Iran Shoots Down Advanced US Drone - Task & Purpose ›
The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2020 officially agreed upon by key lawmakers in the House and Senate would officially establish the U.S. Space Force as the sixth branch of the U.S. armed forces.
The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act would allow service members to seek compensation when military doctors make mistakes that harm them, but they would still be unable to file medical malpractice lawsuits against the federal government.
On Monday night, Congress announced that it had finalized the NDAA, which must be passed by the House and Senate before going to President Donald Trump. If the president signs the NDAA into law, it would mark the first time in nearly seven decades that U.S. military personnel have had legal recourse to seek payment from the military in cases of medical malpractice.
A major serving at U.S. Army Cyber Command has been charged with distributing child pornography, according to the Justice Department.
Maj. Jason Michael Musgrove, who is based at Fort Gordon, Georgia, has been remanded to the U.S. Marshals service, a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Georgia says.
Pardoned soldiers Clint Lorance and Mathew Golsteyn were special guests at a recent Trump fundraiser
President Donald Trump, speaking during a closed-door speech to Republican Party of Florida donors at the state party's annual Statesman's Dinner, was in "rare form" Saturday night.
The dinner, which raised $3.5 million for the state party, was met with unusual secrecy. The 1,000 attendees were required to check their cell phones into individual locked cases before they entered the unmarked ballroom at the south end of the resort. Reporters were not allowed to attend.
But the secrecy was key to Trump's performance, which attendees called "hilarious."
Riding the high of the successful event turnout — and without the pressure of press or cell phones — Trump transformed into a "total comedian," according to six people who attended the event and spoke afterward to the Miami Herald.
He also pulled an unusual move, bringing on stage Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance and Maj. Mathew Golsteyn, who Trump pardoned last month for cases involving war crimes. Lorance was serving a 19-year sentence for ordering his soldiers shoot at unarmed men in Afghanistan, and Golsteyn was to stand trial for the 2010 extrajudicial killing of a suspected bomb maker.
Retired Col. Charles McGee stepped out of the small commercial jet and flashed a smile.
Then a thumbs-up.
McGee had returned on a round-trip flight Friday morning from Dover Air Force Base, where he served as co-pilot on one of two flights done especially for his birthday.
By the way he disembarked from the plane, it was hard to tell that McGee, a Tuskegee Airman, was turning 100.