In the wake of the first US kill of a manned aircraft since Operation Allied Force in 1999, AFM’s Vangelis Antonakis went aboard USS George H W Bush in the eastern Mediterranean to hear a first-hand report of the shootdown at a time of escalating tensions in the region.


F/A-18C 165187/’AC-100’, the VFA-37 ‘Bulls’ ‘CAG bird’, returns to CVN 77. This is the only squadron on the carrier operating ‘legacy’ Hornets.

An Su-22 from Syria was threatening coalition ground forces, and we were in the position to intercept the aircraft.” Rear Admiral Kenneth Whitesell, Commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 2 recalled the incident of June 18, when an F/A-18E from USS George H W Bush (CVN 77, motto: ‘Freedom at Work’) shot down a Syrian fighterbomber over northern-central Syria.

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