Tragic mistake: Jordanian pilot burned by ISIS was shot down by friendly fire

Y’all remember the female fighter pilot from the UAE who everyone was cheering as she took off in her fighter jet to run strikes against ISIS? She became an overnight sensation and symbolic of a perceived triumph of Islamic moderation and advancement. Anyone notice how quick it was that she disappeared? I mean she didn’t even have 15 minutes of fame — more like three. Maybe this is the reason we didn’t hear too much more about this young woman.

As reported by the Washington Free Beacon, “The Jordanian fighter pilot burned to death by Islamic State militants in Syria two months ago was not shot down by anti-aircraft fire, Yediot Achronot reported Sunday, but by a missile mistakenly fired by United Arab Emirates warplanes flying cover.

“Commanding the UAE flight was the first and only female combat pilot, Major Mariam al-Mansouri, who was grounded after the incident. Smadar Peri, an Israeli reporter with extensive contacts in Jordan, attributed the story to Safi al-Kasabeh, father of the downed pilot, Moaz al-Kasabeh. A day after being briefed on the incident by the Jordanian chief of staff, she wrote, the father told local reporters, “Moaz was downed by friendly fire.”

The father noted that the four Jordanian F-16s participating in the attack on Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital in northern Syria, were part of a formation that included UAE warplanes, and that Maj. Mansouri was in overall command.”

Now I can tell you that coordinating an attack with a unit to your flank from a different parent organization on the ground is difficult — hence why you conduct rehearsals; map, radio, or actual. During Operation Desert Storm there were Arab nation units part of the combined military operation and the level of coordination and synchronization was high – it had to be.

Now, I was not intellectually astute enough — along with color blindness and bad eyesight — to fly airplanes, but was well equipped to jump out of them, AIRBORNE! So I cannot attest to what happens in the air — maybe some current and former combat fighter pilots can provide us their comments — but again, combined air operations between differing nations is not an easy task.

It does require ATO (Air Tasking Order) coordination in the planning stage and detailed synchronization in the air. I don’t suppose we will know how many strikes this package had flown together — or the level of pre-operation checks and rehearsals. I must admit, I did find perplexing the initial report that the Jordanian pilot was shot down by anti-aircraft fire.

During Operation Desert Storm I had a first hand view of what happened in a friendly fire incident involving our First Infantry Division Apache helicopter battalion commander. Instead of maintaining a command and control posture, the commander engaged what he thought were two Iraqi armored vehicles — they were actually a friendly intel gathering team in an M113 Armored Personnel Carrier and a M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle. The fog of war is an unforgiving bastard at times — and so it was on that fateful night for five American Soldiers of our division.

Unfortunately it seems Jordanian fighter pilot Moaz al-Kasabeh was a victim of the same fog.

According to the Beacon, “Major Mansouri ordered his son to conduct a low-level attack, said the father. The target, he said, was a location where Islamic State’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was believed to be hiding. “He executed the order … and then was hit by friendly fire from the Emirate planes,” said al-Kasabeh. Maj. Mansouri was grounded immediately after the mission and the UAE announced that it would no longer participate in coalition air action. After a month-long hiatus, UAE planes resumed combat operations, operating out of a Jordanian air base. There was no report on whether or not Maj. Al-Mansouri was still grounded. The 35-year-old pilot had been an English literature major until Emirate Air Force training was opened to women. She graduated as a fighter pilot in 2008. She has reportedly led a number of strikes against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.”

So finally, after some three months we now know the reason why the UAE terminated its participation in coalition air strikes. However, as the Free Beacon reports, “A senior Jordanian intelligence officer told the reporter that the Jordanian pilot had parachuted safely to ground, doffed his pilot’s overalls and headed for the nearby Euphrates River, which he intended to swim across. “He was alone on the ground for a critical 40-50 minutes,” said the officer. “That was sufficient time to try to rescue him.” He said that if an American plane had been downed in similar circumstances, “they would have created a field of fire a mile in diameter to prevent any one getting close until the pilot was rescued.” Al-Kasabeh managed to reach the river’s edge before being seized. “Neither the Americans or us were prepared for this scenario,” said the Jordanian officer.

To his credit Moaz’s father, the elder al-Kasabeh issued a statement that he was not blaming any specific air force or any specific pilot for shooting down his son’s plane, “but I know with certainty that Moaz was not brought down by the Islamic State.”

Having been in combat, I don’t blame UAE fighter pilot Major Mansouri — and of course there will be those claiming that this all happened because she was a female — I don’t buy that, much worse happened to LTC Ralph Hayles. What I do blame is the lack of a proper ATO being done that had allocated CSAR (Combat Search and Rescue) assets to cover this strike operation. Such assets could have been prepositioned in Kurdistan in Irbil and at Kirkuk AB. If anything, there should have been immediate combat air support by way of attack helicopters that could have been on strip alert and launched to cordon off the area where young Moaz went down.

I have listened to the rhetoric of how America is leading an air coalition effort. Well, it seems to be that a lack of ATO planning resulted in the horrific death of a young Jordanian pilot watched by the entire world.

Sadly, under this current administration, four Americans were abandoned to die in Benghazi…and it appears this young combat fighter pilot was abandoned to die. Imagine the terror he must have felt when realizing NO ONE was coming to his rescue.

You see, when you develop a strike package, you account for all risks and plan mitigation measures to reduce those risks. Where was the CSAR? Why was there no contingency plan for a downed pilot? After all, this is the operation we are “supposedly” leading.

Then again, there are those who will echo these famous words, “what difference at this point does it make?” It makes a huge difference because there will be an empty chair at the al-Kasabeh family dinner table — and that chair did not have to be empty. Major Mansouri will be haunted the rest of her life as she watched a member of her strike package shot down and saw the ejection parachute.

But there is a greater shame upon the person who made the decision to do nothing to rescue Jordanian combat fighter pilot Moaz al-Kasabeh.

89 COMMENTS

  1. When it comes to fighting wars, leading countries, important work… Let’s choose the best people, not categories of people needing to be checked off. We’re living the awful results of it every day with Obama and that Jordanian pilot really paid dearly. So sad.

  2. Is this the failure of American leadership in this military operation? Is this the result of no boots on the ground and other restrictions on American participation?

    • How is a Jordanian jet being shot down by a UAE jet the results of no boots on the ground or anything else to do with Americans?

      • Rosemary, you obviously do not understand the subject that you haven chosen to comment on.

      • I did not make a comment. I asked two questions and then clarified what the questions were referring to.

      • Actually, I gave you credit for asking a rhetorical question, which in itself is an attempt to influence a point of view. That, my dear… is making a statement, albeit one based more on emotion, than rationale.

      • My questions were not meant to be rhetorical. I was genuinely asking, not having had any military experience. And your response would sound more genuine without the condescending use of “my dear.”

      • Ms. Bogdan, I was trying to be polite and factual, which is sometimes difficult. I was attempting to point out the absurdity of your comments, and of course, that was condescending, thus you are at least correct about something. (<;

      • Condescension and saying that someone does not understand the topic they are commenting on is being neither polite nor factual.

      • I cannot argue with that, Ms. Bogdan. Obviously, I misunderstood the intent of your question and allowed my contempt to show it’s ugly head. My grandson served two tours with The Marine Corps, in Iraq and I’m really glad those boots are back in the USA, as a lot of them wre not so fortunate.

      • I’m glad your grandson is back too. God bless him for his service. May the Lord have mercy on us in the present situation and grant us peace!!

      • I believe they are saying is that according to the US Gov we ‘supposedly’ are leading a coalition of various militaries in air operations in the region and as such it would be incumbent upon us to see that all ops are run to ‘American’ standards, Elint, Humint, EW, Satellite Intelligence Collection, Drones, CSAR etcetera… And if we are leading then we should have in place contingences in case our aircraft got shot down and a pilot had to eject behind enemy lines so that we could recover him/her… you remember ‘ The Leave No Man Behind’ policy which I believe is still in place… so this begs the question why was there no CSAR with CAP and various escorts, (A10’s Apaches, TALON etcetera) to help recover him…

      • I absolutely agree with you that there should always be a CSAR contingency.
        But we don’t know that there wasn’t.
        I doubt we are operating without those contingencies in place.
        Mr West is assuming there was none and is condemning the administration for his assumption.
        Not every pilot can be retrieved in time and not every grid is covered.

        With vast resources at our disposal, we still had many allied and American pilots taken during the Gulf War.

      • I wouldn’t presume to be smarter than anyone I don’t know personally… other than you, of course.
        Allen West could be an evil genius, just playing dumb, to keep people like you buying his books and expanding his cult of personality.

        However, if Mr West is being sincere, then yes… he is being stupid to assume there was no CSAR contingency.

      • …says the troll who stalks me.
        As usual, you are not here to discuss the merits of the article or even what I wrote.
        You are just here to throw personal insults.

      • STALKS you??? I have as much right on this site as you think YOU do! If you don’t like the true comments directed at you, take a hike! You’re so drunk on the kool-aid that NOTHING you says here is appropriate or worthy!

      • As I said… all you bring is personal insults.. nothing to the discussion.

        Do you have any opinion or thoughts that disagree with my suggestion that there is no reason to assume there wasn’t a CSAR contingency… or did you just see that I wrote something against Mr West and you just automatically jumped in to insult me without actually understanding the conversation?

      • This was written for you and those LIKE you:

        Psalm 58:4

        From the womb, the wicked are estranged, liars on the wrong path since birth.

      • The difference troll boy is that, unlike you, I am never the first to throw insults.. I only respond to insults with insults.
        You, like your buddy flower, just troll to throw insults

      • Hahaha.
        Whatever you say.
        You think responding to an insult is a form of harassment.

        That is as delusional as thinking you are a patriot.
        But please go ahead and annoy the site administrators by making them waste their time to investigate your phony complaints against comments you don’t like.

      • Thanks.
        Clearly, you don’t understand what flagging is.
        When you flag a comment, the administrators review it and the conversation for abuse.

        If you keep flagging every comment that you just don’t like, you’re going to wind up getting banned.
        So please keep flagging away.

      • There ARE no moderators, FYI. I’ve known that for a long time … but it makes me feel better to flag abusive, ignorant, castigating comments.

      • Actually, you’re wrong there are moderators. They do occasionally review or remove comments.

        They just don’t censor comments simply for disagreeing.
        There are moderators. You just don’t think there are because they don’t agree with your desire to ban anyone you son’t like.
        Keep giving them extra work though so they can get fed up with you crying wolf, and ban you.

      • LOL!! WRONG!! I’ve sent them emails about it several times and have learned that indeed this particular comment thread has NO moderators! But then … since you are one of Obama’s own, Psalm 58:4 applies to you…

      • Screw you inbred. Whenever I have put up posts challenge your idiocy, your greeting is ‘retard’. Sit your punk ass goat licking self down punk.

      • I have never responded to your comments with an insult unless your comment had an insult in it first.
        Review your comments. You throw insults out so often you may not even notice.
        When I call you retard it’s because I’m responding to you insulting me…. Usually with some weird sexual thing about ISIS

      • So? You think that makes you some kind of mature woman?! You’re here to harass Patriots. No other reason. You hate Col. West and anyone who thinks he’s the wonderful Patriot that he is! If you don’t like being insulted, STAY AWAY! Because that’s what you deserve and that’s what you’ll get here!

      • You’re not a patriot and you really need to stop worshipping Mr West like he was some infailable god.
        This is a discussion board, not a worship board.
        You’re going to encounter some comments that disagree.
        Stop being so PC sensitive

      • You are a funny little stalker.
        Anyone who disagrees with your idol is a totalitarian stalker?
        Hahaha
        Keep on flagging.

      • [[ I have never responded to your comments with an insult unless your comment had an insult in it first. ]]

        And you’re a known liar.

        [[ When I call you retard it’s because I’m responding to you insulting me…. Usually with some weird sexual thing about ISIS]]

        Another lie by ISIS boy.

  3. Mr West… you are blaming this administration for the capture of this Jordanian pilot because you assume there was no CSAR contingency.
    During Desert Storm, did you blame the administration for all the American and coalition pilots that were captured by the Iraqis?

    Did you forget all your experiences in the Army?
    Having a contingency plan doesn’t mean no one is going to die or get captured.
    Assuming there was no contingency because someone got captured is naive.

    • our gov’t is not to be trusted. We left behind some 2700 POW’s in Vietnam.
      We screwed many thousands more out of their very lives at the VA hospitals.

    • RE: “During Desert Storm, did you blame the administration for all the
      American and coalition pilots that were captured by the Iraqis?”

      Brendan. First, Desert Storm began in January of ’91. While CSAR existed, it was relatively weak and had no sponsorship since VietNam. This was during the time of General Merrill McPeak who was more interested in re-arranging Air Force Commands for the sake of change and training the Air Force in 12-step problem solving processes than building a fighting force (a Clinton man through and through. You can read about those dark days here—> http://formerspook.blogspot.com/2007/12/shades-of-tony-mcpeak.html). I remember General Sams who at the time was the Director of Operations Management, Tanker Airlift Control Center, Scott AFB, Ill, say the if the President knows anything about UFO’s, then he needs to drag them out because we need them NOW (referring to our current rescue capabilities). It took the shoot-down and loss of Navy Pilot Scott Speicher to really draw attention to our lack of CSAR capability. From the research paper “Combat Search and Rescue in Desert Storm” by Col. Darrel D. Whitcomb, USAFR retired, published this:

      “Of the few actually rescueable, eight were not rescued for a host of
      reasons, but primarily because of limitations in CENTAF’s ability
      to locate them accurately and in a timely manner. Additionally, a
      lack of unity of command over all CSAR elements caused confusion and
      a strained working relationship between the JRCC and SOCCENT, which
      operationally controlled the actual combat rescue assets. Regardless,
      the men who actually carried out the rescue missions displayed a bravery and élan so common to American rescue forces in earlier wars.”

      It was General Ronald Fogelman (IMO the last of the great AF Generals) that really started demanding a greater emphasis on CSAR training, funding, and assets. His vision was to pick up a pilot shot down anywhere in the world in 3 hours max. It took years, but we build up a CSAR force unparalleled anywhere in the world and the Guardian Angel weapons system actually amended the vision to pick up any lost combatant, not just pilots inside 3 hours max. Most times we could do it in minutes. All that started to deteriorate with the Obama administration. I don’t know what the status of it is now, but the capability is there…they just have to be activated to be there.

      Col West is probably correct in blaming this administration. Benghazi is one example where we had a CSAR capability that wasn’t activated.

  4. It’s an UGLY truth, but “friendly fire” incidents will always happen in combat. Never going to change. But Rep. West makes an important point. Where was the SAR???? Soldiers will always give their utmost when they know that their brother soldiers will give their utmost to rescue them should they be trapped beyond the front lines. If this report is true then somebody screwed up by not having an SAR package ready as part of the operation. I don’t know whose responsibility that was, but whoever it was needs to have their military career ended. If this pilot actually made it to the Euphrates with no SAR support then somebody needs to be shot.

  5. I wonder who the person is that is responsible for no rescue attempt ?…..Could little or no plans for rescue (at all, anywhere ?) possibly be coming from the top in the US ?……We have a Traitor in office who Does Not Care…..My disgust and contempt for the Traitor are off the scale.

    • I think that he was killed right after capture and then ISIS waited to release the video. It is their M.O. to take their sweet time to release these videos. Remember a while back that they accidentally released a video of a killing (Peter Kassig, I think) before they intended to do so. As for this friendly fire shootdown…this will sting for a long time for whoever it was that unintentionally did it.

    • Rescue is a tier 1 priority. To turn off a tier 1 priority requires presidential approval if all things are done correctly. Who knows what protocol this administration is following.

    • Fighting over the bandaid, not the problem. 1st A true soldier understands what is at stake, and would not want future soldiers or the woman and children of their homeland to sacrifice security for them. 2nd The problem is lack of world structure by being P.C & picking and chosing how to stop terrorist. Israel tries to be the USA of the past, warning of lack of structure allowing Russia, Iran, north Korea, ISIS to ignore the world

  6. Why are all the snarky finger pointing comments from females?
    Ladies, use your brains correctly please or don’t join in a grown UPS conversation.

  7. Blind Idealism. Woman have great purposes, with medically proven totally different thought processes for. Its natural selection to anyone, every empire who tries to be pc

  8. This narrative makes no sense. Why would the UAE pilots shoot off an air to air missile in an environment with NO ADVERSARY AIR capability? This is nothing like the Iraq scenario where the AF pilots mis-ID’d a friendly Apache for an Iraqi Hind. There were NO AIR THREATS over Syria when this pilot went down. And then how would the father know its fratricide? Did the Jordanian military tell him? heck no. They would have told the family it was an aircraft malfunction, even if he truly was shot down.

  9. Maybe we should all remember a few facts to put war against ISIS into the bigger perspective:

    1) ISIS was a special Saudi project, only they didn’t plan on the project overtaking the mother who gave birth to it and posing as threat to the mother’s existence.

    2) ISIS MOs, beheading and burning people alive are laws that are (or were) legitimate in Qatar & Saudi.

    In McCain’s words.. “Thank God for the Saudis and Prince Bandar, and for our Qatari friends,”…

    In Prince Bandar’s (head of Saudi Intel) own words .. The time is not far off in the Middle East…when it will be literally ‘God help the Shia’. More than a
    billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them.”

    The US Leadership is very blind to the fact that Syria rebels are just pro-ISISs underneath. Or that their BFFs Saudi Arabia created ISIS in the first place. It’s not a coincidence that Saudis are the almost biggest importers of arms for years yet they don’t even go to war; What are they using the cache for? The ultimate goal is the same. Stuff that happens in this world, they just don’t happen spontaneously.

    My Big Q. Are we even sure what we are fighting 1) For? 2) Against?

      • On the contrary, “Grey is a Lie” seems very aware of what we’re fighting for. While fundamentalist Shiites and Sunnis are at war with each other on territory that now holds few Christians, most Conservatives want us to jump in with both feet. They’re either stupid are confused. I’m happy to let our Air force and Navy Air use one of the two sides for target practice, and to provide any help Israel needs to eliminate their nuclear threat, but not much else than refilling the bowl of popcorn.

      • Yes, that would be good, but there is no leadership for such an operation. Israel is pretty much on her own with Iran, because Obama is sucking up to them.

        And anyone who thinks this is like watching a movie and eating popcorn, is mentally ill!

      • The little yapper behind her fence of anonymity doesn’t seem to understand that we’re already doing a large portion that. It’s not time to go all in on ISIS. The world has to process what’s taking place and eventually see that this fire is fed by little more than two fundamentalist variations of a very violent political/religious system. If we deployed forces any time soon, it would only obscure blame. You say I’m mentally ill huh? Listen better and insult less.

      • Sorry?? “the little yapper behind her fence of anonymity..”???? YOU can say that with YOUR idiotic avatar???? I’ve provided a picture of myself, you have not. You voted TWICE for a man who is TOTALLY anonymous! No mention of him, no pictures of him in any year book where he CLAIMS to have attended college. No pictures of his “wedding,” no pictures of his children when they were babies, nothing except the fact that he sat in “Rev.” Jeremiah Wright’s church for 20 years, learning to be a racist! You believe the Middle East being on fire is worthy to watch with a bowl of popcorn and YOU don’t think you’re a mental case?

        SEEK HELP – QUICKLY!

      • Flower, you may be an interesting person in real life, but all I can see here, beyond a pretty face, is a hothead projecting her own issues at me. Anger temporarily disables about 25 IQ points, which I presume is what led you to believe that I’m an Obama voter.

        Regarding anonymity, my name and city are listed in this profile and in the White Pages. I’m an open book. But what breaks my heart is that you don’t appreciate the logo of my favorite 80s band, Oingo Boingo! If you are reduced to that heinous level of depravity, I fear that there’s nothing I could say that could convince you that a tong and cheek jab of two Islamist jihads battling one another warranting popcorn actually does not require institutionalization.

        Hang in there young lady, just cool off before posting, a good rule of thumb.

      • I could lose 25 I.Q. pts and still have 75 more than you have. I wasn’t angry, just speaking truth. In fact, I don’t GET angry. I do feel sadness for fellow Americans, however, who are ignorant to what this government is doing.

      • “I could lose 25 I.Q. pts and still have 75 more than you have. ”

        Oh come on Flower, is that really your level? My 12 year old and maybe my 10 y/o would laugh at a response like that! My apologies, I presumed something else about you. Best regards./bill

      • Well by all means, read it to them and let them enjoy a laugh, little billie. My I.Q. is 144 FYI … I’m guessing yours is about 101 or slightly lower.

      • I can’t respect why would you would want to be like this? It’s so cheap. Any mentally disturbed idiot can do it. It’s not clever or original, just adolescent. You embarrass yourself publicly in a debate, so you react with a string of brain dead insults that even I won’t respond to. I tried to help.

        Do what you thinks right. You write your own story, and this is what you choose… Bye.

      • I didn’t ask for your respect. Some people aren’t worth debating – you’re one of those. You can’t afford me. Seek help.

      • “Afford you”? I just tried to educate you, then called out your bad behavior, logical errors and attempted to help. No point in us flaming one another over honest disagreement over what’s best for our free republic and civil society. It may feel good, but it cripples our purpose. Not interested buying you, using you, or anyone else. Have a good day.

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  11. It is my position that the lady fighter pilot deliberately sabotaged a strike on isis leader. There do appear to be people on the wrong side of the fight within the ranks of our effort to destroy isis, like the accidental drops of weapons and food to the enemy.

    This is the thing about this war in the middle east. No one can be trusted.

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