Special Ops Plane Crashes In Africa
The Department of Defense has confirmed that an airplane used for special operations has crashed in Africa – but has revealed little else about the incident.
The Voice of America reported a “U.S. military aircraft” crashed in the East African nation of Djibouti on Saturday, about six miles from the Djibouti International Airport. The report gave little information on the crash, other than that it plane was on a “routine flight.”
“Djibouti is host to the only U.S. military base in Africa,” VoA explained. “The base is home to the U.S. Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, which has played a role in counter-terrorism and counter-piracy operations.”
All four U.S. military personnel on board were killed. Stars and Stripes reports DoD has identified the men as being part of a special operations team drawn from units based in Hurlburt Field, Fla.
That team, the 319th Special Operations Squadron, dates back to WII, reports tech-news website Gizmodo.com. The Squadron “conducted training programs in special air warfare tactics and techniques for USAF and foreign air forces; provided airlift support to U.S. Army Special Forces; and provided intratheater support for special operations since 2005,” Gizmodo wrote.
The website also reportsthat the aircraft was an Air Force U-28A. In speculating what the plane was doing, the site notes that counter-terrorism and anti-pirating activities have been ratcheted up recently.
Located in the Horn of Africa, Djibouti is home to many Islamic extremists, terrorist groups such as Al Queda, and pirates.
Designed to look like a regular commuter plane, the U-28A is designed to take off and land under the harshest of conditions without a runway. It is also packed with the latest in hi-tech communications gear.
The crash is being investigated, a press statement from AFRICOM said.