Task Force Clashes With Insurgents Near Salerno
American Forces Press Service
BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, Apr. 21, 2005 More than a dozen insurgents were killed April 19 as coalition helicopters, aircraft and artillery responded to a rocket attack at Forward Operating Base Salerno, Afghanistan.
"It was a combined-arms effort," said Army Maj. J.R. Mendoza, Task Force Thunder's brigade fire support officer. "We were able to see the launching point of the rockets, and we brought everything we had to bear on it."
Mendoza explained that the base was postured to respond to just such an attack. "They shot at us with rockets, and we responded with artillery, fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft," Mendoza said.
U.S. Air Force A-10s and an AC-130H expended two 500-pound bombs, 10 rockets, 565 30 mm rounds, eight 105 mm rounds, and seven 40 mm rounds.
"These rocket attacks are, by their nature, indiscriminate. They attack not only our forces but innocent civilians as well. This seems to be the norm with insurgent rocket attacks," said Army Lt. Col. Robert Cornejo, Combined Joint Task Force 76's fires chief. "Our fires, by contrast, are precision-oriented fires and are only launched after precautions are taken to prevent collateral damage."
The base came under attack from an initial volley of four rockets. No one was injured, and no equipment was damaged as a result. Initial reports indicated that the insurgents intended a second volley but Task Force Thunder's counterattack prevented it, officials said.
(From a Combined Forces Command Afghanistan news release.)