Airmen Fill the Gaps in Wartime
Thousands of Air Force personnel are being sent to Iraq and Afghanistan to perform low-tech roles and help the Army keep up force levels.
By Mark Mazzetti and Greg Miller, Times Staff Writers
WASHINGTON — Straining to find ground troops to maintain its force levels in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon has begun deploying thousands of Air Force personnel to combat zones in new jobs as interrogators, prison sentries and gunners on supply trucks.
The Air Force years ago banked its future on state-of-the-art fighter jets and billion-dollar satellites. Yet the service that has long avoided being pulled into ground operations is now finding that its people — rather than its weapons — are what the Pentagon needs most as it wages a prolonged war against a low-tech, insurgent enemy.
Well, good luck with all that. Maybe one day Ralph Peters will be forced to wake up and smell the latte.