From a “Mako” Providing Ground Cover

According to an Air Force Reserve Command F-16 pilot flying close air support missions in Iraq, he gets to find out first-hand how his efforts aid ground troops because he eats with some of them. Members of his deployed unit, the 332nd Air Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, share facilities—like chow halls—with soldiers at Balad Air Base in Iraq. Says Lt. Col. Jose Monteagudo, with the 482nd Fighter Wing, Homestead ARB, Fla., “There’s no simulator that can teach you the feeling you get when you hear the guy on the ground yell into the radio, ‘We need help now! Take care of it.’ ” He added, “I really respect the job they’re doing down there, and I am glad we can help anyway we can.” (“Mako” is the call sign used by the F-16s.)