After a helicopter crash, U.S. forces were trapped in desert as flat as Lubbock: outmanned, outgunned, and without cover. U.S. forces carried only infantry weapons which could not reach the more powerfully armed enemy at distance. Supporting Air Force F-16s could not make out, from altitude, enemy from friendly. The only hope was a solitary AH 16 attack helicopter, whose pilots - without regard for their personal safety - conducted repeated attacks straight into the face of disciplined and heavily armed enemy:
After 12 to 15 minutes, Cooper was running low on ammunition, and landed back beside the crashed aircraft. He and his co-pilot stared at each other wide-eyed.And Cooper fought on. Wow. What volunteer U.S. forces have done in Afghan and Iraq is just amazing. Someday, I hope, their true stories will be told.
“Neither of us really expected to get out of this fight alive,” Cooper said.
He paid tribute to the four MH-6 pilots on the ground, who all later received Bronze Stars with “V” devices. “Those guys were off-loading unstable rockets off of the downed aircraft and loading them into my aircraft when I landed,” he said. “That’s not a recommended procedure in the book, [and] they were doing that all the time under fire and in plain view of the enemy.”
After no more than five minutes, Cooper and his copilot took off again. “We weren’t ordered to go back up,” he said. “I’m a gun pilot, and my duty is to support the ground forces.”
After another 15 minutes of fighting against a hail of insurgent fire, Cooper was running out of fuel and ammo and had to put down again. “I was going through ammunition at a fairly rapid clip,” he said.
The MH-6 pilots used a Leatherman tool to remove the crashed Little Bird’s auxiliary fuel tank and use it to refuel Cooper’s aircraft.
The AH 16 is a very agile helicopter. It would be something to read about their aerial evasive maneuvers as they fought right in the enemies' faces. They had rounds ricocheting off their helicopter during the fight.
An F-16 pilot(and father of 5), Maj. Troy Gilbert, in an effort to identify enemies and help save endangered American forces, flew runs far lower than is standard operating procedure, exposing his F-16 to enemy fire. Maj. Gilbert helped turn the tide of battle, then tragically crashed on one of his runs.
In Sept of 2007, American media widely disseminated a propaganda video of the enemy desecrating Maj. Gilbert's corpse. American media used the video - of enemy desecrating a hero's corpse - to delegitimize the Iraq War effort. Maj. Gilbert's widow, Ginger, spoke out strongly and effectively against the actions of American media.
Ginger Gilbert and
Major Troy Gilbert
Widow: "Press... serves to degrade the moral integrity my husband possessed"This is a widow, a mother, a friend to the military, and a patriot standing up for her husband, for her kids, for everyone she loves, and for the nation and for the cause she believes in. We can see that Major Gilbert had moral integrity partially because Ginger Gilbert helped him along the way.
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 18, 2007 04:02 PMDays after an al-Qaida-linked group released a video showing the body of a Luke Air Force Base fighter pilot killed in Iraq last year, his widow lashed out at the national media, accusing it of politicizing and using the images to erode public support for the war.
Ginger Gilbert, making her first public comments since the video emerged last week, said Tuesday that she couldn't remain silent after watching media coverage of a "disturbing video" of the corpse, identification card and crash site of her husband, Maj. Troy Gilbert.
"When media chooses to use Troy's plane crash as a political catalyst to generate anti-war sentiment, it only serves to degrade the moral integrity my husband possessed and the morale of those still selflessly serving," Gilbert said at news conference at Glendale's Falcon Dunes Golf Course, across from Luke.
"Every time the press lends credibility and significance to terrorist propaganda clearly designed to erode public support or questions the validity of our brave soldiers' selfless acts of service and the war itself," she added, "it only serves to damage our country from within its own borders and embolden those who would do us harm."
Flanked by friends and family members clasping hands, Gilbert thanked Arizonans, the Air Force and her Desert Springs Community Church in Litchfield Park for serving as a "shield of protection for my family's welfare and betterment over the last 10 months."
Troy Gilbert, 34, a father of five, was killed Nov. 27, 2006, when his F-16 crashed about 20 miles northwest of Baghdad. Officials concluded that Gilbert crashed because he was so focused on saving friendly troops from attacking insurgents that he flew too low.
Everyone involved in this episode is covered in glory - from the men who died risking their lives right down to the widow standing in front of the microphones. May God bless them all.
Mrs. Gilbert's message should be distributed in every newsroom in the county.Video of Ginger Gilbert's full statement.
Reminded of this:
Dustoff Three-Zero confirms three heroes on board