Keeping Busy

In the first three months of 2010, U-2 surveillance-reconnaissance aircraft with the 99th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron supporting operations in Southwest Asia flew nearly 200 combat sorties, providing grounds troops in Afghanistan and Iraq with invaluable overhead imagery and signals intelligence. In those 200 missions, these U-2s directly supported ground troops in more than 70 instances when the latter were in contact with the enemy, according to officials with the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing that oversees U-2 operations at an undisclosed air base in that region. “We provide the information to ground troops necessary to predict and follow enemy actions in real time,” said Lt. Col. Kevin R. Kirkpatrick, a U-2 mission planner. He added, “The over-watch is a big benefit to keeping our troops safer than they would be otherwise.” (380th AEW report by MSgt. Scott T. Sturkol)