U.S. plans 'air bridge' out of Lebanon, officials say
Americans urged to register with State Department
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Americans could be evacuated from Lebanon using an "air bridge" of fast-moving aircraft, U.S. military officials said Saturday.
Pentagon and U.S. State Department officials are working on contingency plans to get about 25,000 people out of Lebanon to escape Israel's military campaign, launched after two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped by Hezbollah guerrillas.
An "air bridge" is the term for planes that would move in swiftly and ferry people out in quick succession.
Planners are focusing on flying people from the Lebanese capital of Beirut to the island of Cyprus, officials said. (Watch what options the Pentagon has for the trapped Americans -- 1:59)
But the U.S. military is also looking at other options for any evacuation, considering whether it is possible to dock ships or land aircraft in Beirut, given the large number of Hezbollah militants there.
The Israeli bombing of the Beirut International Airport rendered it unusable, and has complicated planning.
Originally posted by djohnsto77
Well I have to say I'm just starting to get pissed off at our gov't...I mean we're spending tons of our tax dollars on nothing, yet when our citizens are in trouble, it seems we always come up short. I don't mean to blame the Republicans who are in power (I'm quite Republican myself) but just the way things work generally in Washington no matter who's in power.
Originally posted by Imperium Americana
Easy Man. Evac for 25k is one heck of an op.
Originally posted by djohnsto77
I agree with you there, and I'm not expecting our nation to be able to transport a la Star Trek our citizens from problem areas on a moment's notice, but this has been going on for days and it still seems we have no plan from rescuing innocent American citizens from the area nor any official diplomatic or military plan to stop the violence.
The ESG includes approximately 6,000 Sailors and Marines aboard seven vessels. In addition to Iwo Jima, the strike group includes the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG 58), amphibious transport dock USS Nashville (LPD 13), dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island ('___' 41), attack submarine USS Albuquerque (706) and guided-missile destroyers USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) and USS Cole (DDG 67). The 24th MEU (Special Operations Capable) embarked aboard the ships, is composed of its command element, 1st Battalion, 8th Marines; Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 365 (Reinforced), and the MEU Service Support Group 24.
Iwo Jima Press Release
American Evacuees to Leave Lebanon Tuesday on Cruise Ship
BEIRUT, Lebanon — By air and increasingly by sea, a massive evacuation of Americans to take them out of harm's way in Lebanon was under way Monday.
An estimated 25,000 Americans are there. Some 15,000 have registered with the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, but not all evidently are trying to get out. "Our planning assumptions are on the order of thousands," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said. "You don't actually know how many people are going to want to leave until you actually start the larger-scale operations."
The operation began slowly. By late Monday only 64 were known to have departed.
U.S. government officials, basing their estimates on similar situations in the past, say the range of Americans lining up to leave could vary from 10 percent of all those in the country all the way up to 100 percent.
Most other countries have a far less difficult evacuation task since there far fewer of their people in Lebanon. Convoys of buses have been used effectively.