The US Air Force Has Flown Hundreds of Missions Supporting the French Intervention in Mali

Credit: Tech. Sgt. Mike Buytas/wikimediaCredit: Tech. Sgt. Mike Buytas/wikimediaIt appears that without American support the intervention in Mali could be going differently. 

Although the U.S. did not send troops to Mali as part of the French-led intervention that began earlier this year the U.S. military contributed a huge amount of logistical support, flying over 200 refueling missions for the intervention as well as forty-seven sorties in C-17s, which transported equipment and personnel.

From Shaun Waterman at The Washington Times:

Air Force Times reported the U.S. Air Force’s 351st Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, forward deployed to Morón Air Base, Spain, from RAF Mildenhall, in Suffolk, England, has offloaded more than eight million pounds of fuel in 204 separate missions in support of the French Air Force as of May 15.

The U.S. air-tanker workhorses, KC-135s, began their assistance to the French on Jan. 27, U.S. Air Forces in Europe spokesman Capt. William Russell told the publication, just days after the intervention in Mali began.

While the French military may have achieved most of its goals in Mali it is important to remember that its first world military still relies on American support.

More from The Washington Times:

“We recognize our role as tankers will always be to support others,” unit commander Lt. Col. Timothy Kuehne said in a release. “Our combined operations with the French in Mali have given us a chance to prove our ability to contribute to anti-terrorism operations led by our partners around the world.”

France and Britain both have an independent in-air refueling capability, said retired Lt. Gen. Richard Y. “Dick” Newton, former director of the U.S. Air Force staff and now executive vice-president of the non-profit Air Force Association.

But, especially for missions far outside of Europe, “there does remain a reliance on U.S. air refueling capabilities which cannot be matched by any other air force,” he added in an email to The Washington Times.

Note: The origninal beginning of this post read "It appears that without American support the intervention in Mali could have been quite different," which of course incorrectly implies the intervention is over. As Reason 24/7 reminds us daily, it is not. 

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  • Pro Libertate||

    Did we get paid for doing this?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I was thinking about this the other day: Gulf War I was mostly paid for by our regional partners and Germany + Japan. When is the last time that was true for the other services and wars we've engaged ourselves in?

  • some guy||

    When you're running trillion dollar deficits, what's a few hundred mil between friends?

  • deified||

  • deified||

    fuck, wrong thread

  • freeAgent||

    That was my reaction. I hope they at least paid for the costs of doing this.

  • Boomer||

    In my youth I was a KC-135 boom operator. We filled out a form after every flight listing the tail number and unit of all aircraft that got gas so the USAF could charge the appropriate organization for the fuel. Whether or not we are being reimbursed for the tankers' operating costs (think tens of thousands of dollars per hour) is another question entirely.

    If they are operating out of Moron AB in Spain and supporting air operations in Mali then they are likely flying eight to ten hour missions. That adds up to some 1600 - 2000 flying hours for 200 missions, not counting deployment from their home bases to Moron.

  • ||

    Awesome. So not only is our money being spent to support the dreams of empire of our politicians, but other countries' politicians as well. Yay.

  • ||

    The European Air Forces are a joke. And a dwindling joke at that. They reap the economic benefits of not needing to invest in military forces, knowing full well the US will do their fighting for them.

    So, as Epi says, we not only get to fund our forces, but theirs too.

  • Pro Libertate||

    So, this is all about protecting the world from Europe, isn't it?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    You laugh, but that was the original intent. NATO and the American military presence in Europe was established "to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down".

    Well, mission accomplished. Can we get the fuck out now?

  • Pro Libertate||

    I dunno, they keep dragging us into world wars. Maybe we should continue to be their military. Probably cheaper.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I say we collude with Germany to achieve the long-sought after dream of Mitteleuropa. Peace, prosperity, and bratwursts for all.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Probably should've sided with the Hun in the first war. A lot of crap might not have happened. Or just stayed out of the mess.

  • ||

    There's plenty to back up the notion that US intervention shifted the balance of power away from a more even peace treaty sooner.

  • ||

    You've just hit on the dirty little secret. The main reason our military spending is so high is that we are supplying the capacity for force projection that our "allies" desperately want but are unwilling to pay for.

    When our "allies" are not complaining about us intervening somewhere they are complaining about us not intervening somewhere.

  • Tman||

    He is earning the fuck out that peace prize.

  • wareagle||

    but if we didn't help the French fight them over there, uh...wait a minute. It'll come to me.

  • ||

    Well we owed the French for their support in...

    ...wait...um...

  • Rich||

    “We recognize our role as tankers will always be to support others,” unit commander Lt. Col. Timothy Kuehne said

    Of course, when we crash, our role will be something rather different.

  • some guy||

    That's where Seal Team 6 comes in. The book practically writes itself.

    Question: would an official blockbuster movie about the rescue of tanker crew from Malian insurgents by Seal Team 6 bring in more money than the crash cost?

  • albo||

    It's no secret that no country in Western Europe can engage in an overseas war without the US. We have the logistics, the cargo planes, the tankers and surveillance assets. They have some but not enough.

    They've been spending down from the cold war and using that money for social programs. They can defend themselves and have good special forces, but that's about it.

  • Hugh Akston||

    They can defend themselves and have good special forces, but that's about it.

    What more does a country need?

  • albo||

    When a country takes a punch at you then retreats, you gotta do something, right? Are you going to send troops across the border by taxi and light rail?

  • ||

    Mali took a punch at France?

  • some guy||

    Nukes, dude. That's the third thing you need to ensure security.

  • Pro Libertate||

    The French and the British have nuclear weapons, don't forget.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "Although the U.S. did not send troops to Mali as part of the French-led intervention that began earlier this year the U.S. military contributed a huge amount of logistical support, flying over 200 refueling missions for the intervention as well as forty-seven sorties in C-17s, which transported equipment and personnel."

    Man, this brings back memories. What could possibly go wrong with helping the French fight a war in one of their former colonies? It's a total win/win!

  • kinnath||

    Indochine

  • Ron||

    For those to young to know a couple of those countries where Korea and Vietnam.

  • NeonCat||

    Corée? Non!

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Pretty sure Korea wasn't a French colony.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Look, we got a number of high-quality films out of that war.

  • db||

    Totally worth it just for Gunnery Sergeant Hartman.

    /eyeroll

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's a much longer list than that. Hollywood owes North Vietnam a vote of gratitude. Heck, the movies are still coming out, even now.

  • db||

    Jane Fonda took the lead ahead of her time in showing that gratitude.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Why do you think she went there in the first place?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    So some atheist pope figure says the following about how feminists use the word "privilege" in a speech generally sympathetic to feminism:

    I’m talking about the situation where the concept of privilege is used to try to silence others, as a justification for saying, “shut up and listen.” Shut up, because you’re a man and you cannot possibly know what it’s like to experience x, y, and z, and anything you say is bound to be mistaken in some way, but, of course, you’re too blinded by your privilege even to realize that.

    Here are some of the words that Amanda Marcotte uses to describe this dissent and the man who vocalized it: "condescending", "unnecessary", "arrogant", "grotesque", "bizarre", "nasty", "appalling" "harassing", and "abusing"

    And they say that feminists don't respond well to criticism.

  • AlexInCT||

    Je me rends!

    That's "I surrender" for all you non surrender monkey language challenged peoples.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    So isn't this kind of logistical support covered under the War Powers Act? Is this a use of our military that Congress has approved under said act? I didn't see anything in the article to answer my question, but I skimmed and may have missed it.

  • Lyle||

    Good for us. To hell with anti-liberty, violent Islamists.

  • WomSom||

    I think its time for a serious smack ddown!

    www.Proxys4u.tk

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