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Iraq No-Fly Zone Pilot Interview with WHIO Radio

Presenter: Military Official
October 02, 2002

(WHIO Radio Interview with Pilot No-Fly Zone over Iraq)

Military Official: Since late 1991 until 1999, nine or ten deployments, I lost track in that timeframe.

Q: Wow, okay.

Could you please describe just a routine mission for you?

Military Official: A routine mission is basically we go through a flight briefing beforehand. We brief what we expect to happen, we take a look at the intel report, we try to take our best guess at where the Iraqi air defenses are, what they're going to do today. Take off, refuel, go into the no-fly zone.

We can be doing a number of things in the no-fly zone. We could be doing road recognition, just looking along a road for signs of activity. We could be doing a combat air patrol setting up, or we could be roving through the area looking for air defense.

Q: It sounds like -- Is that usually something where it's kind of dangerous? I mean I guess it kind of depends on the situation and maybe where you're at.

Military Official: To some degree it's always dangerous. You've got to understand that there's a price on our skulls every time we go out there, and when you look at the guys who are going in there today, they're getting shot at every single day. And by and large that's been going on since the end of 1998, but it's gotten more intense over the past couple of months.

Q: That's got to be something I would imagine that they train you to get ready for dealing with that. I mean what do you do when you're being shot at, if you're being shot at?

Military Official: It wakes you up.

Q: Yeah.

Military Official: The first action you're going to do is probably run away bravely because any time you go out there you have to realize that basically the enemy has the initiative because you're not going to shoot first. So your initial reaction is to get yourself out of trouble, and then if necessary you'll get your act together and do whatever is appropriate after that.

Q: In your mind do you think that Iraq will ever respect the no-fly zone or the UN resolutions involving restrictions of its military?

Military Official: Absolutely not. They have no history of doing that. Their history of largely ignoring us started immediately after the ceasefire in 1991 when we told them they couldn't fly military aircraft and they were immediately flying helicopters. So they've got a long history of getting away with what they can get away with.

Q: It sounds like it.

Do you have any final concluding things you'd like to say?

Military Official: Boy, that's a tough one. Just the realization that this kind of operation really fades from the public mind most of the time. But like I said, the majority of the time you have folks that are out there, out of the public eye who are putting themselves in danger and who are being engaged by an adversary force on a day-to-day basis, and coming home and then going out and do that again. So there's a substantial effort that goes on really out of the public eye except for the rare occasions when somebody takes an interest.

Q: All right. And I want to thank you very much Star Baby for helping us out.

Military Official: You're welcome.

Q: And thank you for your patience as we got stuff moved around and what not.

Military Official: No problem.

Q: Thank you, it's been really great talking go you.

Military Official: Thank you Rocca.

Q: Have a good day. Bye.

Military Official: Bye.

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