Allied Air Missions Showing Results
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Apr. 6, 1999 Allied air operations in Yugoslavia increased for the second day as pilots pounded fuel depots, Serb command and control facilities, air defense sites and Yugoslavian army and special police units.
NATO airstrikes have destroyed the headquarters of the 3rd Army -- the unit conducting ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. NATO pilots have also attacked brigade headquarters of both the Pristina Corps and the Nis Corps of the 3rd Yugoslav Army.
NATO attacks are starting to degrade Serb President Slobodon Milosevics ability to make war. Rear Adm. Tom Wilson, the Joint Staff director of Intelligence, said NATO forces are stepping up attacks against fuel depots. According to Wilson, about 30 out of 100 fuel depots have been hit.
Wilson said NATO planners have also targeted bridges and roads along the Yugoslav line of communication from Serbia proper to Kosovo. The purpose of these attacks is to choke off supplies to the Serb forces conducting the ethnic cleansing campaign.
Wilson said Serb air defense capabilities have been degraded, but the system is still functional. He said NATO pilots have destroyed half of the Serb fighter force either in the air or on the ground. The air defense system is still a threat, and we continue to attack it, Wilson said.
Command and control capability for air defense, the army and the special police is also being degraded, as is the Serb intelligence capability, Wilson said.
According to Wilson, the Yugoslav army and the special police are losing an increasing number of men, both in the field and in staging areas.
Wilson said the morale of Yugoslav forces is being affected by the bombing campaign. We have anecdotal reports that morale is declining, he said. This is shown in the [bad] response to calls for increased mobilization.
Refugees continue to pour into Albania and Macedonia, officials said. NATO countries have agreed to temporarily take in Kosovar Albanian refugees who are in Macedonia to take some of the pressure off that small country. The first of 20,000 refugees the United States will host are due to fly to the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba in the next four days, according to Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon.
Bacon said it would take about 45 days to transport all 20,000 refugees to the Guantanamo base.
Air Force Maj. Gen. Charles F. Wald, the vice director for strategic plans and policy on the Joint Staff, said Sustained Hope -- the U.S. refugee operation -- is already underway. The airlift missions are originating out of Travis Air Force Base, Calif. and Dover AFB, Del.
The majority of the strategic lift is going into Ancona, Italy, where there is a trans-shipment point, Wald said. There, supplies are broken down and placed in C-130s for shipment to Macedonia and Albania. He said more than 100,000 humanitarian daily rations have arrived in Albania in the last few days.
A military assessment team is in place to work with civilian agencies to ensure the food reaches the people who need it. "There is also a tactical airlift control element in Albania that will set up operations in [the capital of] Tirana to help coordinate the airlift into the country, Wald said. Tirana airport is small and the airlift control element will give the airport the facilities it needs to maintain 24-hour operations.