March 16, 2006

Which One of these Things is Not Like the Other?

As folks on the right and left are both botching their reporting on Operation Swarmer, which CNN accurately reports (for a change) as the "largest air assault operation since the invasion of Iraq nearly three years ago" I want to take a second to get things straightened out.

The is a huge difference between an "air assault" and a "bombing raid."

This is a Blackhawk helicopter, most often used to transport men and equipment to combat zones:

This is a F/A-18 Hornet, one of the premiere strike fighters in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, and an aircraft often called upon to drop guided and unguided bombs on the bad guys:

Now, which do you see warming up on the runway in this CNN photo prior to Operation Swarmer?

An "airborne assault" is moving infantry units via air transport to a combat zone. It is often accomplished via helicopters, but can also be accomplished by dropping soldiers from airplanes via parachutes or in glider insertions, though I don't think we've used gliders since Operation Market Garden in World War II.

We've been using helicopter air assaults for over 40 years, and bringing soldiers to a combat zone by helicopter is quite different than an airstrike dropping bombs.

Let's see if we can keep that little detail straight, okay?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at March 16, 2006 01:15 PM | TrackBack

Parachute drops are "Airborne," not Air Assault. To make things more confusing, the 101st Airborne, isn't. It's an Air Assault Division, they just keep the old WWII name. The only Airborned Division is the 82nd.

Posted by: Dawnfire82 at March 16, 2006 03:40 PM

Like the post!
Another thing that really annoys me is how all the liberal media say its three years since the 'INVASION' of Iraq or the most violent day since the 'INVASION' of Iraq or things have not been the same since the 'INVASION' of Iraq.

What planet are these people from, it was not an invasion it was a LIBERATION, with the words they use they betray their defeatism and hysterical anti-western prejudice!

A FREE MAN,Trisitan Murphy on:

Posted by: Tristan Murphy at March 16, 2006 06:16 PM

My fiancee and I were talking about this at lunch after I heard the term air assault and wondered to her if they'd gotten the right term. Surprised that they actually had.

Your post sent me searching and I've found the usage of gliders after Market Garden. Latest I've found so far is Operation Varsity, the 1945 Rhine crossing.

Posted by: Gunner at March 16, 2006 06:22 PM

Okay, gliders apparently used in summer of '45 in the Philippines and planned for use in the invasion of Japan.

There's worse ways to waste a workday than digging for military trivia. Thanks.

Posted by: Gunner at March 16, 2006 06:27 PM

I had a neighbor in Huntsville, AL who had been wih X Mountain Div, then was part of an airborne/glider school in Japan during the occupation. Don't know when gliders officially left the inventory. The C-119, if I recall correctly, started out as a glider concept, then grew recips, and eventually added jes.

Posted by: Fox 2! at March 16, 2006 09:53 PM

According to an AP press release, All 50 aircraft were helicopters including - Black Hawks, Apaches and Chinooks...

Posted by: Elite59 at March 16, 2006 11:07 PM

Some minor points...

The proper name for the 101st Airborne Division is "101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)". It is the only "air assault" division in the U.S. Army and if I'm not mistaken, in the world. The 101st is also the only division to employ CH-47 Chinook helicopters in direct combat assault roles. (Chinooks are normally employed in combat service support (ash & trash) roles.

In Army speak: "Air Assault" operations employ helicopters. "Airborne" operations employ parachutes. "Air Attack" operations employ attack helicopters.

Posted by: Old Soldier at March 17, 2006 07:13 AM

Call it whatever you want. It didn't amount to anything.

Where were the bad guys?

Web Exclusive| World

On Scene: How Operation Swarmer Fizzled
Not a shot was fired, or a leader nabbed, in a major offensive that failed to live up to its advance billing,8599,1174448,00.html

Posted by: ArthurStone at March 17, 2006 06:24 PM