HURLBURT FIELD, Florida — A U.S. special tactics operator saw the urgency for airstrikes to diffuse an oncoming firefight from Taliban combatants in Afghanistan recently.
The AC-130 gunship circling overhead delivered 105mm cannon rounds so precise, they screeched down just 13 meters from where U.S. and coalition troops were located, according to Col. Michael Martin, 24th Special Operations Wing commander.
From air to ground assault, Air Force and Army special operators, along with coalition partners, work together in fast-paced environments to coordinate targeted attacks. The contingents are fully “committed to fusing air and ground maneuver to defeat the enemy,” Martin said of campaigns evolving in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Air Force personnel “are involved” in ongoing operations across Mosul, including calling in precision strikes, Martin told Military.com on Thursday.
U.S. troops serving as advisers were moving with elite Iraqi forces outside the city units just last week, but remained behind the “forward line of” Iraqi Counter Terror Service units, according to Air Force Col. John Dorrian, a spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve.
Martin provided a few more details.
Special tactics airmen are “dismounted on foot, and guys in operations providing a level of support to our Iraqi counterparts to put lethal fires precisely on our targets and enable them to continue the advance,” Martin said.
He declined to comment on U.S. elite forces’ involvement in the assault on Raqqa, Syria, which began earlier this month.
‘We’ve Got Their Back’
Air Force Special Operations Command members continuously train for the kind of battle U.S. troops have been perfecting since the height of conflict in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. However, the responsibilities and tasks of thwarting the enemy now belong “to the guys we’ve invested a lot of our time training,” Martin said.
“The violence that the enemy wants to project continues. They’re unevaded, they’re going to be more deliberate and more tactically focused,” he said. “But some of these fights aren’t our fight — we’re here to enable and support, so we might not be standing shoulder to shoulder, but behind. We’ve got their back.”
Read more of this story at Military.com.