In recent times, a fantastic example of specialized aviators exists in Operations Odyssey Dawn and Unified Protector, where a U.S.-led coalition faced down Muammar Gaddafi’s SAMs over Libya.

This is an account of one particular mission during Unified Protector, written by a friend of ours still flying the Viper. We have concealed his identity and those of others involved for security reasons. So without further ado, we go inside the cockpit of today’s Super Weasel!

Our tasking was to fly armed reconnaissance/SEAD missions over Libya, and this deployment was great for a number of reasons: We were living in Europe, dropping bombs every sortie, and had a schedule that allowed for a day of downtime after our 6-to-9-hour missions.

Thanks in large part to the Vice Wing Commander at our forward operating base, the host wing’s priority had actually become supporting fighter pilots flying combat ops. Amazing.