UK Press Release
04 May 2007 Coalition saves Iraqi Police General
RAF Tornado GR4 strike aircraft from 12(Bomber) Squadron, based at RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland, have been in action over Baghdad in direct support of the Iraqi Police Force. On a recent combat mission over the Sadr City District of Baghdad a pair of Tornados were directed to provide air support to an Iraqi Police General and his escort, under attack by insurgents.
Brigadier General Ali Al-Maksusi, an Iraqi Police Commander, was visiting Sadr City when he was ambushed by a large number of heavily armed insurgents. The General and his men were surrounded and under intense fire from insurgents armed with AK-47 assault rifles and rocket propelled grenades. The insurgents called on the Iraqi Police to lay down their arms so they could take the General prisoner or worse. Fortunately, the General was able to contact Coalition Forces who responded immediately.
The call for assistance was relayed to SrA “Donnie” , from Ft Bragg, the JTAC (Joint Terminal Air Controller) responsible for the area. He called for air support and immediately the Tornado GR4s responded. The JTAC quickly explained the critical situation and asked for a tactical demonstration to show the aircraft’s presence and overwhelming combat power.
One of the Tornados, crewed by Flight Lieutenant Ben Cable and Flight Lieutenant Mike Morgan then performed a high-speed, low-level show of presence over the scene. The Iraqi Police and their opponents heard the faint sound of the aircraft which became piercingly loud as it flew low overhead, dispensing flares into the dark sky. The sudden appearance of the Tornado GR4, armed with a 27mm cannon and 1000lb GPS and laser guided bombs, was too much for the insurgents and they fled in fear. Brigadier General Ali said afterwards that the aircraft had “scared the all living grace of god out of the insurgents and they did not want to continue the fight”. He also personally thanked the JTAC and the aircrew for saving his life.