U.S. Fighter Pilot Tells How He Downed Iraqi Jet With Missile

From Associated Press

An American fighter pilot reported destroying an Iraqi jet in an engagement over Iraq today, saying he watched the enemy craft explode in “a huge fireball” after being struck by a missile.

Capt. Steve Tate of the 71st Fighter Squadron relayed the first report from a pilot of an aerial kill over Iraq. He said he was escorting a bombing mission early today when an Iraqi fighter jet suddenly appeared on his tail.

Tate, of Watersmeet, Mich., told a television pool that he maneuvered his F-15 fighter into position, established radar lock and fired his Fox-1 missile.

“I just let one Fox-1 go, and about four miles in front of me I get a huge fireball,” Tate said. “I get the missile coming off, which is a big flash coming off.


“When he blew up I could see a piece of the airplane blowing up,” said Tate. “It was at night, I couldn’t see a parachute or anything. It was a huge fireball, I don’t anticipate anyone getting out of that.”