posted on May, 25 2005 @ 04:09 PM
I am new to this forum, and glad to be here. Highly interesting discussions indeed....
On the subject of Iranian Tomcat drivers, I have a suggestion to those who have doubts. Have you spoken to any *by now old timer) USAF or other
American instructors who taught IIAF pilots? I have. Just listen to them and you will see that they were up there with the best. You need to keep
in mind that these folks were separate from the current government, and for the most part were very pro American. For this, they suffered more from
their own government than from the Iraqi Air Force.
Regarding Tom Cooper, maybe one reason other sources don't agree with him is that they have not done as extensive research as he has. If you go to
his website and read his books, you will see that he is not shy about disclosing Iranian failures and bad days as well. For most of the incidents he
shows, he has dates, evidence in the form of corroborative narratives with pilot and ground personnel from both sides, photographs, gun camera images,
FOIA documents of the USAF and USN, you name it. He also admits that this is work under progress, and keep in mind he has been doing this for 18
years. Can anyone show me any "western military expert" in Flight international or elsewhere who has even come close to this level of study? Who
has even bothered to talk to any Iranian and Iraqi pilots who were there? At least for this, he deserves credit and a listen.
Some of the ex-IIAF guys who flew in this war are here in the US, even some who got Phoenix kills. Instead of knocking them, we need to realize that
these people were our friends and they fought for their country, not a bunch of mullahs. Many of them were either killed by or ran away from the
mullahs after they were not needed anymore. This may be hard for you to believe, but it is true. Iranians are different than Saudis and Kuwaitis. I
would like to see how many Saudi F-15's would be flying 25 years from now if the US pulled out tomorrow. Whereas about 1/2 of the Tomcats in Iran's
original inventory are flyable today. (They had them for only 4 years before the revolution) Even if they had good relations with the US and free
access to spare parts that would still be an accomplishment IMHO.
Also, I don't mean to knock USN Tomcat drivers, but I think it is fair to say that in 8 years war with Iraq, Iranian Tomcat drivers had many more
real world (and more challenging) combat experiences with the Iraqis than the two times that USN Tomcats encounetered an equal number of Libyan
adversaries of much lower quality. In fact, the comabt debut of the Tomcat was in Iranian, not USN service.
Keep in mind that the first Gulf war went on for 8 years, and had Iran not had capable people behind its planes, it could not have sustained oil
exports and commercial air traffic for 8 years against an enemy 6 times its size which enjoyed all kinds of help, whether it be technical, financial,
or intelligence. Also, you will be hard pressed to find air warfare on this scale for such a long period of time in any time or place after the
Vietnam war. As an example, this war was also the combat debut for the Mig-25, and the Tomcat fared very well against the Mig-25, sufferring no
losses while destroying several, some at a long range with the Phoenix (the whole reason Iran bought the Tomcat to begin with!). One Mig-25 was shot
down by an F-5E with guns in a close quarters dogfight. This F-5E was piloted by an ex-IIAF top gun who flew in their acrojet team alongside the Blue
Angels. He survived the war and is in the US today.
Maybe the Tomcats and Iran's dilapidated fleet are no threat to the US or anybody today, but all indications are that in the early 80's, they were
quite a bunch who kicked some serious butt. They were our friends, and they have my respect.