For decades, fighter jet pilots have dreamed of earning that coveted combat stamp on the side of their plane. Not easily earned in the days of ground combat and artillery, getting a kill on another in air aircraft has been incredibly rare. Now in Syria, an unnamed pilot got theirs for shooting an armed Turkish drone.
Given our current alliance with Turkey against a common enemy, this was a peculiar event. As the Wall Street Journal reported, “A U.S. jet fighter shot down a Turkish drone on Thursday after it was deemed a threat to U.S. forces in northeast Syria, a person familiar with the episode said. The episode comes as Turkey has been mounting air attacks against Kurdish militants it blames for a bombing attack in Ankara on Sunday.”
With around 900 US troops in Syria, they have been entrenched with Turkish fighters in their battle with the Islamic State. Naturally, the Turkish Ministry is claiming the drone is not theirs, and they have no knowledge of who it belongs to.
Lying like this when the region is already unstable is a dangerous move on the part of the Turkish government. They have a history of poor decision-making like this, but taking action like this is deceptive and destructive as all hell. The American people should not be sending our troops to the region if they are not supported.
We already learned in Iraq and Afghanistan, that if they don’t want liberation and change, they will quickly fall back after we leave and claim they were overrun. Like a bad cartoon from the 1950s, as soon as we (the heroes) leave from their country, it all falls back to the way it was. The only thing that changed after we’re gone is the name at the top. The old policies, way of life, and mindset are back in full force, and possibly even stronger than before we got there.
Building up their numbers through manipulation, kidnappings, and false flag operations, they get built back up quickly, and we again become the great enemy. This means we don’t get to have security and peace, instead, the threat is back yet again. It’s what presents moments like these for a fighter pilot. This isn’t an easy moment to achieve, and to each one it means something different.
For some, this stamp is a moment of triumph, and of years of training and dedication paying off in a big way. To others, this is a sign that they truly are the best, especially as many have stationary target confirmed shootings, but not moving targets. That “in-air kill” even against an armed drone with no human inside is still a combat kill. The aircraft is done for.
It’s not easy to get a good lock on such a small and nimble machine like many of these drones- the heat signature is too small to get a good lock. Unlike dogfighting, you won’t likely be getting in close enough to switch to guns (thanks Iceman), so that means you need to find a cleaver and stealthy way to approach them. Thankfully, American fighter jets have stealth and radar-blocking technology that far surpasses anything the Turks, the Islamic State, or any other opponent could dream of.
While the Pentagon might not be proud of it, this pilot is, and rightfully so.