Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
UNSUNG HEROES: These A-10 Pilots Intentionally Drew Enemy Fire To Protect Trapped Marines
By the time Capt. Jeremiah “Bull” Parvin and 1st Lt. Aaron Cavazos arrived over the Afghanistan battlefield on Oct. 28, 2008, six special operations Marines cut off from the rest of their unit had been fighting off 50 to 60 insurgents for two hours in close-quarters combat. They had not received close air support because F-18s on scene were unable or unwilling to fly beneath low cloud cover, according to Military.com.
Despite having no adequate maps to help guide them through the narrow four-mile wide valley, Parvin and Cavazos descended below the clouds to join the fight.
Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, 56th Fighter Wing commander, pins the Air Force Combat Action Medal onto Capt. Aaron Cavazos, 61st Fighter Squadron weapons officer, Jan. 16 in Club Five Six at Luke Air Force Base.“We just kind of picked our best access to get down there and hoped for the best, and this is also happening at twilight, so this also made it pretty difficult as well. But we did both make it down there, and once we got underneath the weather there was more of a firefight than I ever expected to see in Afghanistan,” Cavazos recounted in a video featured on Military.com.
The pilots turned on the exterior lights of their aircraft, intentionally presenting a visible target for the insurgents in order to draw their fire away from the Marines, reported the Air Force Times. With the help of enemy coordinates relayed by the joint terminal attack controller and infrared strobe lights to mark the Marines’ position, Parvin and Cavazos were able to make multiple deadly strafing runs. Their accuracy was crucial, as they effectively targeted enemy positions as close as 20 meters from the Marines.
During the course of the engagement, the A-10 Warthogs flew as low as 400 feet above the ridge lines. “I would have rather hit the mountain and at least try to save them versus fly above the weather and listen to them fight and die on the radio,” Cavazos said in an interview with Air Force Times.
Before the A-10s arrived, the Marines were surrounded with nowhere left to retreat. They had suffered two wounded and were taking fire from immediately outside the windows of the house they were holed up in, and even from an inside hallway. The house itself had caught fire.
Thanks to the air cover, the Marines were able to withdraw from the house back to the safety of their base. Running low on ammunition, Parvin and Cavazos continued to fire enough well-placed rounds to slow the enemy’s pursuit. By the end of their eight-hour mission, there were only 100 rounds remaining in Parvin’s A-10 out of 1,350, he told Air Force Times.
The Air Force awarded both pilots the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor in January.
“You hear gunshots in the background; you hear screams of urgency in their voices,” Parvin was quoted saying in an Air Force news release. “You could just tell they need help and they need it now.”
Parvin’s assessment was spot on, according to one Marine on the ground. “It was the first time in my life that I thought to myself, ‘This is it, we’re going to die, we’re not going to make it out of this,” Master Gunnery Sgt. Richard Wells said at the medal ceremony for Parvin. “I don’t think I’d be doing this interview right now. I’m certain that I wouldn’t have made it out.’”
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will leave "a small peacekeeping group" of 200 American troops in Syria for a period of time after a U.S. pullout, the White House said on Thursday, as President Donald Trump pulled back from a complete withdrawal.
Trump claims border wall is under construction 'right now' using fence repair footage from 5 months ago
With a legal fight challenge mounting from state governments over the Trump administration's use of a national emergency to construct at the U.S.-Mexico border, the president has kicked his push for the barrier into high gear.
On Wednesday, President Trump tweeted a time-lapse video of wall construction in New Mexico; the next day, he proclaimed that "THE WALL IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION RIGHT NOW"
But there's a big problem: The footage, which was filmed more than five months ago on Sep. 18, 2018, isn't really new wall construction at all, and certainly not part of the ongoing construction of "the wall" that Trump has been haggling with Congress over.
Group of American vets detained in Haiti on weapons charges brought back to US, arrested upon landing
A group comprised of former U.S. military veterans and security contractors who were detained in Haiti on weapons charges has been brought back to the United States and arrested upon landing, The Miami-Herald reported.
The men — five Americans, two Serbs, and one Haitian — were stopped at a Port-au-Prince police checkpoint on Sunday while riding in two vehicles without license plates, according to police. When questioned, the heavily-armed men allegedly told police they were on a "government mission" before being taken into custody.
The Army allegedly missed this soldier's stomach cancer for 4 years. His widow wants someone to answer for it
The widow of a soldier whose stomach cancer was allegedly overlooked by Army doctors for four years is mounting a medical malpractice lawsuit against the military, but due to a decades-old legal rule known as the Feres Doctrine, her case will likely be dismissed before it ever goes to trial.
Hand grenades from the last major battle of the Revolutionary War have repeatedly scrambled bomb squads in Virginia's capital
In an uh-oh episode of historic proportions, hand grenades from the last major battle of the Revolutionary War recently and repeatedly scrambled bomb squads in Virginia's capital city.
Wait – they had hand grenades in the Revolutionary War? Indeed. Hollow iron balls, filled with black powder, outfitted with a fuse, then lit and thrown.
And more than two dozen have been sitting in cardboard boxes at the Department of Historic Resources, undetected for 30 years.