Monthly Archives April 2002

A Pilot Views Combat from the ground up

By Lance M. Bacon, Times staff writer

BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan — Many F-16 pilots have seen combat in Afghanistan. Few have seen it from Capt. Joe Locke’s perspective.

He’s seen it from a ridgeline, positioned beside a scout sniper team. He’s seen it from inside Coalition Task Force Mountain’s air support operations center, where he helped coordinate air strikes for the opening days of Operation Anaconda. And he’s seen it in the eyes of young airmen and soldiers, who battle rugged terrain, inclement weather and Taliban fighters sworn to fight to the death.

The view from the ground is a lot different, according to this fighter pilot of seven years.

“I never imagined I’d be in Afghanistan, as opposed to flying over it,” said Locke, a member of the 18th Air Support Operations ...

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SOF TACP members performing overwatch. Preparing to call in an airstrike.

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