Downed F-16 in Iraq

A commenter wrote:

M, why has there been almost no news about the fact that an F-16 went down outside Baghdad earlier this week, and the pilot is still listed as ‘duty status unknown’? There is talk that a shoulder-fired Strela SAM took it down… which, if true, is not good at all.

I’m not sure why there’s been so little coverage, but I suspect that it’s at least partly due to the fact that so little seems to be known, or at least public, at this point in time. I hadn’t posted on it myself for that reason.

Though the pilot is officially listed as “duty status: whereabouts unknown”, apparently remains were recovered from the crash site and are being DNA tested right now.

The pilot was Maj. Troy L. Gilbert of the 309th Fighter Squadron, Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. He had deployed to Balad Air Force Base with the 332nd Expeditionary Wing.

Two insurgent groups have apparently claimed joint credit for shooting down the plane (what else would you expect them to say?) but the Pentagon says there’s no evidence that the plane was shot down (what else would you expect them to say?). An investigation has been started and I imagine we’ll hear the official explanation shortly.