AIN AL-ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq — American troops had been knowledgeable of an impending missile barrage hours earlier than their air base in Iraq was struck by Iran, U.S. navy officers stated Monday, days after the assault that marked a significant escalation between the longtime foes.
At 11 p.m. on Jan. 7, U.S. Lt. Col. Antoinette Chase gave the order for American troops at Ain al-Asad air base in western Iraq, to go on lockdown. Army actions froze as her group, answerable for emergency response on the base, despatched out alerts concerning the risk. At 11:30 p.m., she gave the order to take cowl in bunkers.
The primary strike landed someday after 1:35 a.m. on Jan. eight and the barrage continued for practically two hours. Half method by means of the assault, Chase discovered the missiles had been being launched from Iran.
No American soldiers were killed or wounded, the U.S. has stated, though a number of troops had been handled for concussions from the blast and are being assessed, stated Col. Myles Caggins, a spokesman on the base for the U.S. coalition combating the Islamic State group.
“The reason why we pushed it at 2330 is because at that point in time all indications pointed to something coming,” she advised reporters touring the bottom. “Worst case scenario — we were told was it’s probably going to be a missile attack. So we were informed of that.”
The Iranian assault was in retaliation for the U.S. drone strike close to Baghdad airport that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 3.
An Related Press crew touring the Ain al-Asad base noticed giant craters and broken navy trailers. Forklifts lifted rubble and loaded it onto vans from an space the scale of a soccer stadium. U.S. troopers inspected moveable housing items destroyed within the assault.
The sprawling advanced in western Anbar province is about 180 kilometers (110 miles) west of Baghdad and is shared with the Iraqi navy. It homes about 1,500 members of the U.S. navy and the U.S.-led coalition combating the Islamic State militant group.
The Iranian assault — essentially the most direct assault on America because the 1979 seizing of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran — raised fears of a wider battle though each side have since indicated that they will not search additional retaliation, at the very least within the quick time period.
“There were more than 10 large missiles fired and the impact hit several areas along the airfield,” Caggins stated. Not less than 15-30 minutes handed between successive strikes, Chase stated.
The assault destroyed services that home dozens of troopers and one missile hit close to an airstrip the place six drones had been parked however precipitated no harm, he stated.
The bottom acquired a notification that the missiles had been on their method, due to early warning techniques, Caggins stated, and troops had been moved out of hurt’s method. He described troopers who lived by means of the assault as “warriors.”
Due to the lengthy intervals between barrages, just a few curious troopers peered out to examine the harm.
“After the first boom, I was confused and so I stuck my head out to see what it was,” stated Capt. Jeffrey Hansen, 30, from North Carolina. “The second boom blew a bunch of debris on my face.”
The Ain al-Asad air base was first utilized by American forces after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein. Services on the base had been break up with Iraqi forces when U.S. troops returned in 2014 main a multi-national coalition to defeat ISIS militants.
President Donald Trump went to the air base in December 2018, making his first presidential go to to troops within the area. Vice President Mike Pence has additionally visited.
On Monday, most troopers walked across the base with none physique armor, amid giant tents and road indicators written largely in English. The bottom was ringed by giant concrete boundaries blackened by the bombardment.
Chase stated troops had performed a drill the week earlier than the assault and that they’d acquired some warnings earlier within the day that had prompted them to maneuver troops across the base.
“I had zero casualties and everybody is alive to tell the tale. So as far as I’m concerned, I couldn’t be happier and I couldn’t be prouder of the actions that the soldiers and the coalition forces took that night,” she added.
This text was written by QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA and ALI ABDUL-HASSAN from The Associated Press and was legally licensed by means of the NewsCred writer community. Please direct all licensing inquiries to [email protected].
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