Gawd, I love this!!!!!
Another great dispatch from Michael Yon:
Men crept in darkness to plant a bomb. They moved in an area where last year I was helping to collect fallen American soldiers from the battlefield.
Terrorists. The ones who murder children in front of their parents. The ones who take drugs and rape women and boys. The ones who blow up schools. The ones who have been forcibly evicted from places like Anbar Province, Baghdad and Baqubah by American and Iraqi forces. Terrorists are here now in Mosul. They call themselves al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). AQI cannot win without Baghdad, and cannot survive without Mosul. The Battle for Mosul is evolving into AQI’s last great stand.
……The bombers were being watched. Invisible to them, prowling far overhead, was a Predator.
The Predator peered down on the terrorists planting the bomb. There were too many targets for one Hellfire missile, and it’s better to conserve the weapon when possible, since the Predator must fly far to reload.
A group of four Kiowa Warrior pilots were only a few minutes away from the enemy, but their helicopters were on the ground and the engines were cold, while the pilots were waiting in a building near the runway, playing Guitar Hero to pass the time.
A soldier interrupted the Guitar Hero session, telling the pilots to get in the air. Orders would come over the radio. The pilots abandoned Guitar Hero and raced out the door into the cold night to their OH-58D Kiowa Warriors, economy-sized helicopters that would make a Ford Pinto seem spacious. The pilots crammed two each into the two helicopters, strapping in, cranking engines, while radio chatter had already started. The pilots learned that the Predator had identified a target, which it would laser-designate for a Hellfire shot from a Kiowa.
Minutes after the first alert, rotors were chopping the cold air, the instrument readings looked good. The pilots changed the pitch of their rotors to bite the air and lifted slightly off the ground, backing out of their parking spaces like cars. After backing out, they stopped in a hover, and began to move forward, pulling away from the other helicopters. The Kiowa Warriors lifted into the sky over the runway, heading south, then east toward the lights of the city of Mosul only a minute away. They didn’t get far.
The pilots were about a half mile away from their parking spaces when the Predator relayed coordinates and the laser code to pilot CW3 Tom Boise, an ex-Special Forces soldier with previous experience in Iraq who seems to know a lot more about the war than most people, and the left-seater was Chief Warrant Officer 2 Carlos Lopez……
…… Lopez and Boise could not see the enemy, but the Predator could, and so they set up for a “remote” Hellfire shot, meaning they would fire the weapon “blind” in the direction of the target, and the missile would “lock” onto the laser reflection as it approached.
……Lopez programmed in the Predator’s laser code while Boise pointed the nose of his Kiowa Warrior in the direction of the target. With the laser code programmed into the Hellfire computer, the Predator lazed the target.
The Predator was lazing the target, invisibly marking the group of six men. Boise launched the Hellfire…
Shaking the little helicopter, the missile-motor temporarily blinded the night vision goggles, filling the cockpit with light. From up close, the launch appeared white, but from a distance the launch was orange and illuminated the Kiowa and the ground below as the Hellfire sparked away.
The missile climbed to about eight hundred feet, its cold eye scanning the ground ahead for the laser reflection. There it was. The eye acquired laser photons, the computer verified the code, adjusted flight controls, and pointed the warhead at the target. The Predator was striking the gavel for the Hellfire to deliver justice, but the terrorists apparently realized the verdict a fraction of a second too late. The detonation appeared silently on the Predator thermal, while seconds later the sounds of the explosion rumbled over the base.
The remains of the terrorists glowed hot on the infrared imagery.
Links to the complete dispatch:
That oughta send the pro-Islamofascist, anti-war pukes into apoplexy.