Continuous “Air Umbrella”:

According to Brig. Gen. Stephen Hoog, the two F-16 Vipers engaged for the strike on Abu Musab al Zarqawi’s safe house (see above) had been flying a routine search operation for improvised explosive devices, which typically includes two or more aerial refuelings over the course of a six-hour mission. The fighters were part of what he termed an “air umbrella,” comprising 20 different types of aircraft all day, every day. Hoog said, “On average, we fly enough strike assets every day to fly around the world four and a half times if they flew in a straight line.” The key to this air umbrella, noted Hoog, is that it is there “all the time, ready to be tasked as needed.”