Air Transportation: April 16, 2003


On March 26th, 2003, northern Iraq was seen as a backwater in the war, with nothing but a few hundred Special Forces and CIA people to support the Kurd militias. But then a thousand paratroopers and air force commandos were dropped on an airfields in Kurdish territory. Within a few days, C-17s delivered 400 vehicles (including tanks and M-2 Bradleys), 2,000 troops and 3,000 tons of equipment. Normally, the air force doesn't like to use their transports for this sort of movement. But the CNETCOM commander has the authority to order it. Whatever objections the air force commanders may have had were swept away by the authority of the chain of command. This ground force provided the heft that allowed the lightly armed Kurds to move forward. Within two weeks, most of northern Iraq was overrun.


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