When you think of a battlefield seizure, you may pictureArmyparatroopers jumping from a plane and heading to the frontline. We know theAir Forcebrings those soldiers in, but they also play a role on the ground.
Airmen jumped into a simulated war Friday; the only casualty was a jumper who broke his ankle. They are out here to show what kind of protection the Air Force brings to a joint battlefield.
"Without us on the ground there's nobody to control those aircraft, those assets, and without Air Force, air firepower on the battlefield, the Army's just on their own with their organic weapons," says Pope Airman Master Sgt. Hal Sullivan.
In times of real war, members of the14th Air Support Operations Squadronand the18th Weather Squadroncould seize a battlefield along with paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division. Some members of the 14th are actually with U.S. soldiers in Albania right now.
"You saw the process that we employed to actually talk those pilots' eyes on to the targets," says18th Squadron Commander Col. Eric Rosborg.
"That process is critically important because we want to be able to put our fire and steel on the target with minimum fratricide and maximum effect," Rosborg says. "So the process is very much the same and that's actually what we're training to [do] right now in Albania."
Fort Bragg Maj. Jose Marquez agrees the process is critical. "The firepower they bring to the battlefield is crucial. It makes for an easy operation, saves a lot of life and enhances the ability we have to bring more forces to the ground," Marquez says.
A call came Friday for 18 more A10s to head to Kosovo; officials at Pope Air Force base are waiting to hear if they will be supplying any of the planes.