Search  
   
Good Morning America World News Tonight 20/20 Primetime Nightline WNN This Week
April 12, 2003
 
HOMEPAGE
NEWS SUMMARY
US
INTERNATIONAL
MONEYScope
WEATHER
LOCAL NEWS
ENTERTAINMENT
ESPN SPORTS
SCI / TECH
POLITICS
HEALTH
TRAVEL
FEATURED SERVICES
RELATIONSHIPS
SHOPPING
DOWNLOADS
WIRELESS
INTERACT
VIDEO & AUDIO
BOARDS
CHAT
NEWS ALERTS
CONTACT ABC
ABCNEWS.com


(AP Photo)
U.S. Eyes Sending Home Some Warplanes
U.S. Preparing to Send Some Warplanes Back Home From Iraq As Need for Air Power Declines

The Associated Press


Print This Page
Email This Page
See Most Sent
Power Play: A Deck of Iraq's Most Wanted
Are Iraqis' Guerrilla Tactics Understandable?
Rabbi Admits Affair, Denies Killing Wife
WASHINGTON April 13

The U.S. military is beginning to pull some attack planes out of the Iraq war, now that the major ground battles are over and the focus is shifting to stabilizing the country.

The air campaign is far from over, but its focus has shifted away from heavy bombing toward protective air cover for ground troops around Baghdad and in northern Iraq.

Surveillance and reconnaissance missions by U-2 spy planes, unmanned Predator drones and other aircraft are continuing apace, and aerial refueling and cargo planes are still very busy.

Vice Adm. Timothy Keating, the commander of all naval forces in the war, said Saturday that two or three of the five U.S. aircraft carriers launching planes on missions over Iraq may head home soon. Each carrier has about 80 planes aboard, including about 50 strike aircraft.

He said the USS Kitty Hawk, which has operated in the Persian Gulf since February, probably would be the first to leave, possibly "in a couple of days." Its home port is Yokosuka, Japan.

The USS Constellation, also in the Gulf and on its final active deployment, probably would go next, he said.

Keating said orders to send carriers and other forces home would have to come from Gen. Tommy Franks, the war's overall commander, and that no such orders have been received.

The Air Force already has sent four B-2 stealth bombers back home to Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., officials said. They were flying missions over Iraq from the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia and from Fairford air base in Britain. Other B-2s flew roundtrip missions from Whiteman.

Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon in a videotelecast news conference from his headquarters in Bahrain, Keating said that as the bombing in Iraq slackens, the Navy will be ready to reduce the number of carriers on duty and give the sailors and air crews time to recuperate.

"We're anxious to get those folks back to their home ports as soon as we can," Keating said.

In addition to the three aircraft carriers in the Gulf, the Navy has used two in the eastern Mediterranean the USS Harry S. Truman and the USS Theodore Roosevelt, both home-ported in Norfolk, Va. Their planes have concentrated mostly on targets in northern Iraq.

Keating said either the Truman or the Roosevelt likely would be sent home soon. He didn't say which it would be, but he noted that the Truman is on a regularly scheduled deployment, whereas the Roosevelt had a shorter-than-usual period at its home before deploying to the Mediterranean in February.


photo credit and caption:
Air Chaplain Dan Reardon from Chillicothe, Mo., blesses an F/A-18 strike fighter prior to a flight mission aboard the USS Nimitz on Saturday April 12, 2003. Reardon makes the rounds blessing the planes each day before they depart on their missions over Iraq. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
 
  RELATED STORIES
International Index
More Raw News
 
 INTERNATIONAL HEADLINES
ABCNEWS' Coverage of Iraq War
Officials Try to Restore Order in Iraq
Are Iraqi War Tactics Understandable?
Iraq's Most Wanted in a Deck of Cards
Tradition vs. Reform in Qatar

 


Copyright 2003 ABCNEWS Internet Ventures.
Click here for:  HELP   ADVERTISER INFO   CONTACT ABC   TOOLS   PR   TERMS OF USE   PRIVACY POLICY

Family of sites:      ABC.com        ABC Family        ESPN.com        Disney.com        FamilyFun.com        GO Mail        Movies.com