Mitchell Institute’s Aerospace Advantage podcast is pleased to release the third installment in its Desert Storm retrospective, Flying the Missions: The Desert Storm Air Campaign 30 Years Later. Host Lt Col (ret.) John Baum and Mitchell Institute dean Lt Gen (ret.) Dave Deptula speak with airmen who strapped into their jets and flew into harm’s way as part of the air campaign. Guests include F-16 pilot Lt Gen (ret) “Orville” Wright, B-52 pilot Lt Gen (ret.) Mike Moeller, F-117 pilot Major Gen (ret.) Greg Feest, F-15C pilot (ret.) Colonel Rico Rodriguez, Air Force Special Operations rep Col (ret.) Randy O’Boyle, and Mr. Dale Burton, who was the Technical Lead for JSTARS. Each one of these individuals brings unique experiences to this conversation, ranging from Feest dropping the first bomb in Iraq from an F-117, or Rodriguez scoring multiple air-to-air kills against Iraq MiGs.
Full Topic Guide
In part 3 of this Desert Storm special series, host John Baum and co-host Lt Gen (ret.) David Deptula speak with the men who strapped into their jets and flew on night one of the war. F-16 pilot Lt Gen (ret.) “Orville” Wright, B-52 pilot Lt Gen (ret.) Mike Moeller, F-117 pilot Major Gen (ret.) Greg Feest, F-15C pilot Col (ret.) Rico Rodriguez, Air Force Special Operations rep Col (ret.) Randy O’Boyle, and Mr. Dale Burton join the show to describe the emotions, experiences and tactics of flying and fighting in the opening days of the campaign.
Lt Gen David Deptula describes the war from a planning perspective and how he made real time changes to the plans as events unfolded. Stealth saw its first real test in warfare during Desert Storm. Maj Gen Greg Feest then provides his experience as the first F-117pilot to drop munitions in Iraq. Col Rico Rodriguez describes his role securing air superiority in theater, including downing two enemy MiGs.
Long range strike was another key tool employed during the Desert Storm air campaign. Lt Gen Mike Moeller provides direct insight to this mission area as a B-52 pilot. Lt Gen Wright shares his stories as a squadron commander of an F-16 unit. Col Randy O’Boyle explains how Air Force Special Operations played a key role in the attack plan. Finally, Dr. Dale Burton recounts how JSTARS command and control aircraft was deployed for its first combat use.
The episode wraps with each of our guests providing their top takeaways from the Desert Storm air campaign and why these lessons are especially applicable given the military challenges facing the US today.
02:17 – Lt Gen David Deptula describes the opening moves from a planning perspective
06:09 – Maj Gen Greg “Beast” Feest recounts being the first person to fly an F-117 stealth bomber into combat.
14:28 – Col Rico Rodriguez emphasizes his training experience on his ability to engage MiGs in the air
23:03 – Gen Moeller’s B-52 flights demonstrated the value of long range strike in the air campaign
27:02 – LT Gen Bruce “Orville” Wright tells his stories of developing a streamlined bomb logistics chain and interacting with coalition and allied forces
35:05 – Col Randy O’Boyle describes the role of Air Force SOF units in disabling Iraqi defenses for the air campaign and the integration of SOF and regular forces in the war
44:03 – Dr. Dale Burton explains the role of experimental JSTARS aircraft in providing air support in Desert Storm
53:20 – Each of the shows guests gives a final lesson learned that they believe needs to be reemphasized for our airmen to be successful in future wars.
Host: Lt Col (ret.) John “Slick” Baum, USAF, ret.
Co-host: Lt Gen (ret.) David Deptula, USAF, ret.
Producer: Daniel C. Rice
Executive Producer: Douglas Birkey
Guest: Lt Gen (ret.) Bruce “Orville” Wright, USAF, ret.
Guest: Lt Gen (ret.) Mike Moeller, USAF, ret.
Guest: Maj Gen (ret.) Greg “Beast” Feest, USAF, ret.
Guest: Col (ret.) Rico Rodriguez, USAF, ret.
Guest: Col (ret.) Randy O’Boyle, USAF, ret.
Guest: Dr. Dale Burton