Editor’s Note: This article by Oriana Pawlyk originally appeared on Military.com, the premier source of information for the military and veteran community.
The F-22 Raptor did have a role in the Syria strikes after all, and the extended range version of the Joint-Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range wasn't used, according to new statements from U.S. Air Forces Central Command.
The stealth fighter was providing overwatch for U.S. and partner troops on the ground while the U.S., UK, and France were launched strikes on chemical weapons facilities in western Syria, officials said.
Meanwhile, the JASSMs used in the April 14 strikes "were, in fact, not JASSM Extended Range (JASSM-ER) munitions, [but] rather, the munitions used were JASSM-A, or the standard, non-extended range versions of the munition," AFCENT spokesman Capt. Mark Graff said Thursday.
The use of 19 JASSMs still marked the first operational use of any variant of the missile, Graff said.
AFCENT officials said that they wanted to correct the record after Military.com asked the command earlier this week about the F-22 missing out completely on the high-profile operation.
Lt. Col Damien Pickart, also an AFCENT spokesman, originally told Military.com on Monday the Air Force's premier fifth-generation fighter was not flying alongside a pair of B-1B Lancer bombers that dropped missiles on the Syrian targets, nor was it in the area.
Graff, told Military.com on Thursday that, "U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors played an integral role in protecting ground forces during and after the multinational strikes against Syrian chemical weapons production facilities on the morning of April 14."
Graff did not say how many F-22s were airborne, nor in what regions in Syria they conducted the overwatch mission.
"Thanks to its unique fifth-generation capabilities, the F-22 was the only airframe suited to operate inside the Syrian integrated air defense systems, offering an option with which to neutralize [Integrated Air Defense System] threats to our forces and installations in the region, and provide protective air support for U.S., coalition and partners on the ground in Syria," Graff said.
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
The amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima sails past the Statue of Liberty into New York Harbor, November 10, 2016. (U.S. Navy/Petty Officer 2nd Class Carla Giglio)
In the six months since its activation, the Navy's 2nd Fleet has bulked up and is embracing its mission in the North Atlantic and the Arctic, where the U.S. and its partners are focused on countering a sophisticated and wily Russian navy.