By lex, on March 26th, 2011
Embedded within this otherwise unexceptional article about a young F-16 pilot’s first look at the wolf was this curious quote:
Captain Thulin and his squadron mates studied photographs of possible targets — from several types of tanks to artillery pieces — and how they would look from 20,000 feet using infrared targeting sensors. The pilots also pored over information about Libya’s surface-to-air missiles, including deadly SA-5 mobile launchers.
“We were studying the terrain, what buildings were made of, what it looks like over the desert using night-vision goggles or during the day,” said Captain Thulin, a native of Lake Orion, Mich., who mentioned the differences between Libya and verdant northern Italy, where the squadron normally trains. “We were preparing so when in combat, it’s more of a reflex.”
Late last Saturday night, Captain Thulin got the call he knew would be coming: his mission was scheduled. By 2 a.m. Sunday, his F-16 roared down the runway at Aviano heading for Libya. Twice during the flight to his destination, Captain Thulin refueled in midair with special planes. He was in constant communication with air traffic controllers as well as intelligence analysts updating him on potential targets.
This is the Gray Lady, the New York Times, containing “all the news that’s fit to print.” Writing about air refueling tankers as “special planes.”
Honestly. It is to weep.