Tag Archives: F-16

Decorated Fighter Pilot Speaks Up About Benghazi

Just got this in Facebook, and don’t know its authenticity, but it does sound credible. ~TD

F-16Go Colonel “Hands” Ooo Yah!

I received the following email from a friend regarding Benghazi. What a shameful American moment…Paris (France), June 13, 2013I would say every US fighter pilot, retired or on active duty, knows that Panetta and Dempsey both are full of crap when they said there was no time to send help to Benghazi. They claim it was a problem of “time/space.” All my friends and I said, “Bullshit.” We know they could have gotten F-16s there from Aviano.”Hands” Handley is a well-respected USAF fighter pilot. Here is his short resume and what he just wrote about Benghazi below that. If anything, Handley is pessimistic in his timeline of when F-16s could have reached Benghazi. I think they could have been airborne even sooner and turned quicker at Sig. The decision to not try was not based on capability. We had the operational capability in every way.I hope Handley’s taxes are in order. His IRS audit is forthcoming.• • • •

Eagle Biography

Colonel Phil “Hands” Handley

Colonel Phil “Hands” Handley is credited with the highest speed air- to-air gun kill in the history of aerial combat. He flew operationally for all but 11 months of a 26-year career, in aircraft such as the F-86 Sabre, F-15 Eagle, and the C-130A Hercules. Additionally, he flew 275 combat missions during two tours in Southeast Asia in the F- 4D and F-4E. His awards include 21 Air Medals, 3 Distinguished Flying Crosses, and the Silver Star.
• • • •

Betrayal in Benghazi
Phil “Hands” Handley Colonel, USAF (Ret.)

The combat code of the US Military is that we don’t abandon our dead or wounded on the battlefield. In US Air Force lingo, fighter pilots don’t run off and leave their wingmen. If one of our own is shot down, still alive and not yet in enemy captivity, we will either come to get him or die trying.

Among America’s fighting forces, the calm, sure knowledge that such an irrevocable bond exists is priceless. Along with individual faith and personal grit, it is a sacred trust that has often sustained hope in the face of terribly long odds.

The disgraceful abandonment of our Ambassador and those brave ex-SEALs who fought to their deaths to save others in that compound is nothing short of dereliction-of-duty.

Additionally, the patently absurd cover-up scenario that was fabricated in the aftermath was an outright lie in an attempt to shield the President and the Secretary of State from responsibility.

It has been over eight months since the attack on our compound in Benghazi. The White House strategy, with the aid of a “lap dog” press has been to run out the clock before the truth is forthcoming. The recent testimonies of the three “whistle blowers” have reopened the subject and hopefully will lead to exposure and disgrace of those responsible for this embarrassing debacle. It would appear that the most recent firewall which the Administration is counting on is the contention “that there were simply no military assets that could be brought to bear in time to make a difference” mainly due to the unavailability of tanker support for fighter aircraft.

This is simply BS, regardless how many supposed “experts” the Administration trot out to make such an assertion.

The bottom line is that even if the closest asset capable of response was half-way around the world, you don’t just sit on your penguin ass and do nothing.

The fact is that the closest asset was not half-way around the world, but as near as Aviano Air Base, Italy where two squadrons of F-16Cs are based.

Consider the following scenario (all times Benghazi local): When Hicks in Tripoli receives a call at 9:40 PM from Ambassador Stevens informing him “Greg, we are under attack!” (his last words), he immediately notifies all agencies and prepares for the immediate initiation of an existing “Emergency Response Plan.”

At AFRICON, General Carter Ham attempts to mount a rescue effort, but is told to “stand down”. By 10:30 PM an unarmed drone is overhead the compound and streaming live feed to various “Command and Control Agencies” and everyone watching that feed knew damn well what was going on.

At 11:30 PM Woods, Doherty and five others leave Tripoli, arriving in Benghazi at 1:30 AM on Wednesday morning, where they hold off the attacking mob from the roof of the compound until they are killed by a mortar direct hit at 4:00 AM.
So nothing could have been done, eh? Nonsense. If one assumes that tanker support really “was not available” what about this:

When at 10:00 PM AFRICON alerts the 31st TFW Command Post in Aviano Air Base, Italy of the attack, the Wing Commander orders preparation for the launch of two F-16s and advises the Command Post at NAS Sigonella to prepare for hot pit refueling and quick turn of the jets.

By 11:30 PM, two F-16Cs with drop tanks and each armed with five hundred 20 MM rounds are airborne. Flying at 0.92 mach they will cover the 522 nautical miles directly to NAS Sigonella in 1.08 hours. While in-route, the flight lead is informed of the tactical situation, rules of engagement, and radio frequencies to use.

The jets depart Sigonella at 1:10 AM with full fuel load and cover the 377 nautical miles directly to Benghazi in 0.8 hours, arriving at 1:50 AM which would be 20 minutes after the arrival of Woods, Doherty and their team.

Providing that the two F-16s initial pass over the mob, in full afterburner at 200 feet and 550 knots did not stop the attack in its tracks, only a few well placed strafing runs on targets of opportunity would assuredly do the trick.

Were the F-16s fuel state insufficient to recover at Sigonella after jettisoning their external drop tanks, they could easily do so at Tripoli International Airport, only one-half hour away.

As for those hand-wringing naysayers who would worry about IFR clearances, border crossing authority, collateral damage, landing rights, political correctness and dozens of other reasons not to act,” screw them”. It is high time that our “leadership” get their priorities straight and put America’s interests first.

The end result would be that Woods and Doherty would be alive. Dozens in the attacking rabble would be rendezvousing with “72 virgins” and a clear message would have been sent to the next worthless POS terrorist contemplating an attack on Americans that it is not really a good idea to “tug” on Superman’s cape.

Of course all this would depend upon a Commander In Chief that was more concerned with saving the lives of those he put in harm’s way than getting his crew rested for a campaign fund raising event in Las Vegas the next day. As well as a Secretary of State that actually understood “What difference did it make?”, or a Secretary of Defense whose immediate response was not to the effect that “One of the military tenets is that you don’t commit assets until you fully understand the tactical situation.” Was he not watching a live feed from the unarmed drone, and he didn’t understand the tactical situation?

Ultimately it comes down to the question of who gave that order to stand down? Whoever that coward turns out to be should be exposed, removed from office, and face criminal charges for dereliction of duty. The combat forces of the United States of America deserve leadership that really does “have their back” when the chips are down.

• • • • •

FOR THOSE OF YOU HAVE ACTUALLY TAKEN THE TIME TO READ THIS, YOU NEED TO DO ONE THING FOR ME! FORWARD THIS OUT TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW!! WE CAN NEVER ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN AGAIN AND WHOEVER GAVE THE “STAND DOWN” ORDER NEEDS TO BE EXPOSED!!!!

——–
(TD again) 
I would like to add the following poem all Boomers remember from just before the test pattern came onto TV at the end of the broadcast day:

John Gillespie Magee, Jr, age 19 in 1941

John Gillespie Magee, Jr, age 19 in 1941

High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .

Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

— John Gillespie Magee, Jr

mageegrave

Letter Complains About Jets Over Luke AFB

This is a true story, authenticated by Snopes.comWhat follows is my compilation of Snopes’ account and an e-mail I received from beloved fellow FS.

~Eowyn

+++

Luke Air Force Base (AFB) is west of Phoenix, Arizona, and is rapidly being surrounded by residential construction whose residents regularly complain about the noise from the base and its planes, forgetting that it was there long before they were.

On June 15, 2005, a resident of Glendale, near Luke AFB, wrote a sarcastic letter to the local paper, The Arizona Republic, complaining about a group of F-16s that disturbed his day at the mall:

Question of the day for Luke Air Force Base:

Whom do we thank for the morning air show? Last Wednesday, at precisely 9:11 A.M, a tight formation of four F-16 jets made a low pass over Arrowhead Mall, continuing west over Bell Road at approximately 500 feet. Imagine our good fortune!  Do the Tom Cruise-wannabes feel we need this wake-up call, or were they trying to impress the cashiers at Mervyns early bird special?

Any response would be appreciated.

Tom MacRae, Peoria

The next day, the paper received this response from Col. Robin Rand, Commander of Luke AFB’s 56th Fighter Wing:

Luke Air Force Base was asked to respond to a letterwriter’s question about a “morning air show” he observed recently (“A wakeup call from Luke’s jets,” Letter, Thursday):

Capt. Jeremy Fresques, USAF

The “wake-up call” witnessed the morning of June 15 was a formation of F-16 jets from Luke AFB lining up for a memorial service in Sun City at the gravesite for Air Force Capt. Jeremy Fresques, an officer assigned to Air Force Special Operations. Fresque gave his life in defense of our country while serving in Iraq. 

It is unfortuante that at a time when our nation is at war someone should believe we have less than honorable and professional reasons for such a mission.

The commander of the fighter squadron [Lt. Col. Pleus] was given the difficult duty of informing the family of Capt. Fresques on Memorial Day that the officer, a husband, son and Arizonan, had died in Iraq.

On behalf of the men and women at Luke AFB, we continue to keep Jeremy and his family in our thoughts and prayers.

Col. Robin Rand, Luke Air Force Base

Four days later, the newspaper also published a response from Lt. Col. Pleus himself:

Regarding “A wake-up call from Luke’s jets”:

On June 15, at precisely 9:12 a.m., a perfectly timed four-ship of F-16s from the 63rd Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base flew over the grave of Capt. Jeremy Fresques.

Capt. Fresques was an Air Force officer who was previously stationed at Luke AFB and was killed in Iraq on May 30, Memorial Day.

At 9 a. m. on June 15, his family and friends gathered at Sunland Memorial Park in Sun City to mourn the loss of a husband, son and friend.

Based on the letter writer’s recount of the flyby, and because of the jet noise, I’m sure you didn’t hear the 21-gun salute, the playing of taps, or my words to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques as I gave them their son’s flag on behalf of the President of the United States and all those veterans and servicemen and women who understand the sacrifices they have endured.

A four-ship flyby is a display of respect the Air Force gives to those who give their lives in defense of freedom. We are professional aviators and take our jobs seriously, and on June 15 what the letter writer witnessed was four officers lining up to pay their ultimate respects.

The letter writer asks, ‘Whom do we thank for the morning air show?”

The 56th Fighter Wing will make the call for you, and forward your thanks to the widow and parents of Capt Fresques, and thank them for you, for it was in their honor that my pilots flew the most honorable formation of their lives.

Lt. Col. Scott Pleus, Luke Air Force Base

To his credit, the complainant Tom MacRae did write an apology that was published in The Arizona Republic on July 9.

Capt. Jeremy Fresque, 26, died in a plane crash alongside three fellow soldiers during a training mission near Baghdad. Fresque, a graduate of the prestigious Air Force Academy in Colorado, had been promoted to captain just that morning. Fresques had been chief of communications and an information officer at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale before transferring to special operations in 2002. Other Americans killed in the crash were Maj. William Downs, 40, of Winchester, Va.; Capt. Derek Argel, 28, of Lompoc, Calif.; and Staff Sgt. Casey Crate, 26, of Spanaway, Wash. Fresques, Argel and Crate were assigned to the Air Force 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, while Downs was part of the 6th Special Operations Squadron. All were based at Hurlburt Field, Fla.

The e-mail that beloved fellow FS forwarded to me contained this addendum by a “Lt. Col. Grant L. Rosensteel, Jr., USAF”:

Only 2 defining forces have ever offered to die for you:

Jesus Christ

and the American Soldier.

One died for your soul,

the other for your freedom.

~Eowyn