How It’s Done

US Air Force airmen at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, met with members of the Afghan news media last week to discuss how the service conducts its close air support missions and show off some of the aircraft engaged in CAS operations in Afghanistan. It was not the first time the US military’s Bagram Military Operations Center had reached out to Afghan reporters, but it was the first such engagement that focused on airpower, according to Army Capt. Jennifer Martin. And, Army 1st Lt. Meagan Newsom, also deployed to the BMOC, explained that a lot of negative press doesn’t mean “they are trying to make us look bad but how can they report fairly on something they don’t fully understand.” One Afghan reporter, Sharif Khoram, with Agence France Presse news service, got the message. He said: “There are many civilian casualty concerns, but I have learned how the Air Force tries to avoid it and how much they make the aircraft effective in fighting the insurgents.” Air Force Brig. Gen. Mike Holmes, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing commander, told the reporters that they “play a key role” in “keeping us in check” and helping “the people of Afghanistan understand how we operate, how we are here to help.” (455th AEW report by SSgt. Rachel Martinez)