It would be truly interesting if, in fact, it was a plane from Springfield’s 183rd Fighter Wing that dropped the bombs that killed terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq this week. But interesting is about it.
I don’t think this tells us anything special about the 183rd as this State Journal-Register article seems to suggest. Particularly puzzling is this paragraph from the story:
And if the 183rd killed al-Zarqawi, that also would buttress arguments from supporters of the unit who believe the wing was unfairly targeted by last year’s Air Force base realignment process. That process resulted in a decision to move the 183rd’s jets out of Springfield.Really? How so? I don’t get the connection. So, if the 183rd had taken out Zarqawi this time last year, they would not have been “realigned” and slated to be moved out of Springfield? That doesn’t seem likely.
Hey, there’s no one more pissed off about the 183rd being moved out of Springfield than I. Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows that. But I have no reason to believe the realignment was because the 183rd wasn’t tough enough on terror or good enough in combat.
Look, the 183rd is as good as most Air Force and other Air National Guard units. The pilots are top-notch and they know how to use their equipment.
That said, the mission to kill Zarqawi was not a particularly tough or unusual one. Its’ not like the pilot, whoever he is, had to fight his way through a hail of missile and anti-aircraft fire. No, he was given an undefended target and hit it with the skill that would be expected of any F-16 pilot. Nor did the pilot go hunting for Zarqawi and, using his keen sight and hunting skills, find him and blast him on the fly. No, we knew where he was and our guy flew there and dropped his laser and satellite guided bombs.
Again, I’m not saying what the F-16 pilot did was no big deal or that it didn't take skill, just that it was, in the scheme of things, rather routine and I’m not sure how this “would buttress arguments from supporters of the unit who believe the wing was unfairly targeted by last year’s Air Force base realignment process”. The writer of the SJ-R article doesn’t bother to explain that.