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Spectre Spotlight 2006
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By Kim Coryat

One of the things we all love about going to the Spectre Reunions is listening to and telling stories of our experiences as veterans of wartime conflicts. How many conversations have you walked up on as someone was beginning with the time-honored opener, "There I was at 7,000 feet, two a-turnin' and two a-burnin'"? Even if it's a tale you've heard many times you will stay and listen to what is being said because it is important to that vet to share his or her story, right? Well, the Library of Congress agrees with you.

The U.S. Congress voted unanimously for legislation to create the Veterans History Project and it was signed into law on October 27, 2000 (Public Law 106-380). The project is administered by the Library of Congress and funded by the United States Congress and a generous grant from AARP, the project's founding corporate sponsor. The goals of the project are to collect and preserve stories of service, honor those who served, and make it possible to learn about the past through the first-hand accounts of men and women who lived through extraordinary times. The Veterans History Project honors our nation's war veterans and those who supported them. This project is building a lasting legacy of recorded interviews, memoirs, and other documents chronicling the veterans' and other citizens' wartime experiences, and how those experiences affected their lives and America itself. The Veterans History Project pledges to preserve this legacy for generations to come.

At the coming joint reunion in October 2007 I am interested in bringing some of our 'war stories' together in interviews with as many vets as are interested in sharing. Let's face it folks - none of us are getting any younger! How great would it be for your great-great-grandchildren to look your name up in the Library of Congress and be able to watch an actual video of you? Please visit at the Library of Congress' website (http://www.loc.gov/vets/) for specifics. I will be posting more information on our website as the project firms up. If you have any questions or comments please email me at kcoryat@hotmail.com.
4th SOS History Update
In the fall of 2001, the 4th SOS was again called upon, this time to fight the war on terrorism. It earned great distinction flying long missions in direct support of the Special Ops war in Afghanistan. The successful routing of Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces was of such great magnitude that congress approved the funding for an addition of 4 new AC-130U Gunships.

In the spring of 2003, the 4th SOS played a pivotal role during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM by firing the first shots of the conflict. During the initial 2 months of action Ghostriders flew more than 1000 combat hours from 3 separate forward operating locations. Again the unit served with unwavering distinction and proved invaluable to the coalition's effort to topple the former Iraqi regime.

The AC-130U represents a major advancement over previous Gunships and incorporates features to enhance maintainability and supportability making certain its crews, nicknamed the Ghostriders, are available -- "Any Time, Any Place."

16th SOS History Update
Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, the Spectre's deployed on November 11, 2001 to an undisclosed location near Afghanistan to support Operation Enduring Freedom. The 16th SOS is still there today supporting coalition ground troops as part of the Global War on Terror.

The day after arriving in Afghanistan, the 16th SOS attacked Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces near the city of Konduz in support of Northern Alliance forces, and was directly responsible for the city's surrender the next day. On November 26, 2001 Spectre was called in to put down a rebellion at the prison fort of Qual-a-Jinga. While supporting the beleaguered U.S. and allied forces throughout the night with withering 40mm and 105mm fire, Spectre succeeded in smashing the rebellion of Taliban and Al-Qaeda POWs.

While deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, the 16th SOS flew missions over Mazar-E-Shariff, Konduz, Kandahar, Shkin, Asadabad, Bagram, Baghran, Tora Bora, and virtually every other part of Afghanistan. Spectre participated in countless operations within Afghanistan including Operations Full Throttle, Roll Tide, and Eagle Fury. Spectre also performed on-call close air support and armed reconnaissance over Kandahar after an assassination attempt against Afghanistan's newly democratically elected leader, President Karzai.

In March 2002, the 16th SOS provided 39 crucial combat missions in support of Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan. With only 3 aircraft and 3 crews, the squadron amassed 322 combat hours over 12 days, resulting in 45 enemy killed in action, nine vehicles destroyed, 11 damaged vehicles, and 12 destroyed and 25 damaged buildings. During the intense fighting, the squadron expended more than 1,300 40MM and 1,200 105MM rounds, saving American lives with quick, decisive actions. Spectre crews repeatedly displayed tremendous heroism to support troops in contact. Their actions earned them the 2002 Mackay trophy, and the 2002 Air Force aviator valor awards. In addition, in 2002 the 16th SOS was the third most deployed unit in the Air Force.
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