A member of a U.S. Air Force squadron based in Italy has claimed he and his team could have come to the rescue of U.S. personnel under fire in Benghazi, but they never received the order.
The airman, who has maintained anonymity out of fear of retribution, told Fox News the squadron aircraft were armed, fueled and ready to provide support to the U.S. personnel at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the night of Sept. 11, 2012. He recounted what he saw that night, saying “that flight line was full of people, and we were all ready to go.”
“The whole night we were told that we are waiting on a call,” said the airman. That call never came.
The airman and his squadron were stationed at the U.S. base in Aviano, Italy, approximately 1,000 miles from Benghazi. His account contradicted various government reports which claimed U.S. planes could not have reached the U.S. personnel in time. A primary reason cited by a military report said because a refueling tanker was not available, air support was an impossibility. The airman countered this claim saying U.S. aircraft regularly utilize what is called a “hot pit maneuver,” which allows an aircraft to be refueled on the ground while its engine is running.
“I definitely believe that our aircraft could have taken off and gotten there in a timely manner, maybe three hours at the most, in order to at least stop that second mortar attack … and basically save lives that day,” said the airman.