Friday’s Afghanistan attack wiped out 8% of US Harrier fighting fleet

Two Marines were killed and another nine members of collation forces were injured on Friday night at Camp Bastion – managed and operated by the British – in Afghanistan. I’m curious to know how many of you know we lost eight out of 10 Marine Harrier jets in Afghanistan during the attack.

Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 211 is based out of Yuma, Ariz. and arrived in Afghanistan from a previous deployment in April and had moved from Kandahar to Camp Bastion in July. From U-T San Diego.

One of two Marines killed when insurgents breached the main strategic base in southwestern Afghanistan late Friday night hailed from a Yuma squadron that lost six Harrier jets and two more that were significantly damaged in the unprecedented attack on Camp Bastion, Marine sources confirmed.

A Google search for ‘harrier jets’ in the news world provided a bunch of articles specific to the jets and the attack, but nothing from CBS, CNN, NBC, MSNBC, or ABC. TIME mentioned the incident in an awkwardly written piece that also mentioned NATO forces mistakenly attacked “women and girls collecting firewood.” Later in the article we learn these deaths – tragic if they were innocents – occurred  during an attack on a significant number of militants. TIME did not feel it was necessary to find out more details.

Fox News thinks two Harrier jets were destroyed and they have not updated the story. The Associated Press mentioned the attack as well. That was it for the first page of the Google results.

Think the loss of Harriers sucks but is not a big deal? Think again.

  • This single attack resulted in the Marines loosing 8 percent of the US Harrier fighting fleet. This is based on the estimate that there are 120 of them in service, of which about 20 are exclusive training aircraft. Wikipedia notes a similar number (119) in the fleet including the trainers.
  • This was the only Marine Harrier squadron in Afghanistan, leaving a hole in close air support for troops on the ground until a replacement squad arrives.
  • The attack represents the worst aircraft loss in one day for the US since the Vietnam War, and the worst for VMA-211 since Pearl Harbor.
  • The last new Harrier rolled off the line in 2003 – almost a decade ago – and is set to eventually be replaced by the F-35B.

Update: To clarify, all eight were not completely destroyed, two of the eight were significantly damaged and supposedly can be repaired.

Update 2: After three days, the attack and the loss of the aircraft are now making the main stream media.

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Steve McGough

Steve's a part-time conservative blogger. Steve grew up in Connecticut and has lived in Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas. He resides in Connecticut, where he’s comfortable six months of the year.


  1. Murphy on September 17, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Nothing to see here folks , the President’s got everything under control. Please move along

  2. Dimsdale on September 17, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Well, the upcoming sequestration bomb should make sure those jets move down on the “need to replace” list.
    Once again, the obvious “smooth over the mess to protect ?bama” meme of the press is right out where you can see it.? No more subtlety for the flying monkeys of the DNC.? Ramirez’s cartoon of the press as a dog humping the ?bamateur’s leg is more and more apropos every day.? (

    • ricbee on September 17, 2012 at 10:58 pm

      I love the “sequestration bomb” & think cancelling the F-35B is a great way for DOD to meet their 10%.

  3. SeeingRed on September 17, 2012 at 9:10 am

    The most frightening this to me is the fact that the media is indeed controlling the truth.? They choose what to report, and when to report it.? I can only surmise that they get instructions on the what and when.?

    These are scary times.? Military losses nothwithstanding, the?level misinformation is?Goebbels-like, like it or not.?? Rasmussen has Romney up in NC but down in OH & FL.? I am scratching my head as to how this can be, but maybe we’ve already lost.

  4. JBS on September 17, 2012 at 9:46 am

    There seems to be an echo? Sounds like the Viet Cong attacks on the Tan Son Nhut Air Base in 1968. We all know how that all turned out. (Actually, all bases were targeted much earlier and continuously in that war. The ’68 attacks were a prelude to sustained assaults.)
    More blood and treasure lost to another continuing, ill-fated, impossible, and totally wrong war.?
    We are to believe that Obama and his Regime has anything under control? I would laugh if it wasn’t so lamentably real, damnably sad and totally predictable.

  5. cherwin on September 17, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    I am shocked by this news and the fact that no one has reported such a huge loss.

  6. JollyRoger on September 17, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Meanwhile, the liberal media (NPR, Ari Shapiro…) are busy conspiring, in a circle jerk, to rig questions and roast Romney. ?We should complain to their sponsors, congress, and get their public funding pulled!

    • JBS on September 18, 2012 at 9:52 am

      How about a boycott of certain products?
      Pick a day and refuse to listen/watch/read media.
      I have sworn off satellite/cable media.

  7. ricbee on September 17, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    Those “jump jets” ain’t worth squat they are better off without them. The F-35B is also a waste of money.

  8. wildcat on September 18, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    Gave up looking for news on current events through mainstream media a long time ago.?
    Meanwhile, now that we are no longer working “shoulder to shoulder” to train the traitorous Afghan soldiers to take over security duties for their own country, can someone….anyone….tell me just what the (blank) our mission is in Afghanistan at this time?? Don’t get me wrong….I’m relieved somewhat that our troops won’t be put in positions to have their trainees turning on them with weapons we’ve just trained them on.? I just don’t understand what we are trying to accomplish there at this point.? As PBO loves to remind us….. he killed Bin Laden.? So what is our mission now?? I’m very concerned for the safety of our troops there.

    • JBS on September 19, 2012 at 7:25 am

      Last first: Obama wants to crow about how he killed Obama. Then he turns around and wants Muslims to love him? Can’t have it both ways. He is distancing himself from Israel. Muslims pick up on that loud and clear.
      Afghanistan? We have no business there. The only thing there is opium. The only presence to argue for is counterinsurgency.? No one will ever be able to control Afghanistan. Look at the history: the British, the Soviets, and now the US. LOL The Afghans don’t even want to be there!
      America has been the world’s janitor. Cleaning up one mess after another from dozens of country’s adventures. We don’t learn.
      Here’s my question: What will have CHANGED in Afghanistan after the US leaves?

  9. PatRiot on September 19, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    – It is painfully obvious that we are not wanted.? And that the training we provided was?successful.
    -? The original mission (maybe)?was to rout the Taliban.? Retribution for the 9/11/01 attacks.
    Then it morphed (mission creep) became nation building.? Hmm building Afghanistan into a democracy or enlarging the nation (empire)?of America!?
    Hmmm…?American presence in Afghanitstan, Pakistan and Iraq.? Looks like we have Iran surrounded.?
    By chance ??This all smells bad.? And our military and the people?of these countries will suffer becasue of the arrogance of those who?want power but not the? responsibility that goes with it.

  10. JBS on September 19, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Gee, the Taliban is still there and will be persecuting fellow Afghans long after we leave. Which is kind of what I was asking: What have we changed through our expenditure of blood and treasure? Really, was one American life worth anything there in the long run? I’m not being personal here; I just would like to know.
    The Afghans don’t want us in their country. Many hate us. Turn the situation around. I’d really object to any invading and occupying (there’s that word) force. Many Afghan citizens are tribal, meaning that they don’t even like the neighbors in the next valley. Blood feuds are centuries old. Layer that with the predominate religion, Islam. No matter how we would like it to be different, the Qur’an has labeled us as infidels, suitable only for killing. I have never seen an up-side to our presence there.
    Iran? Surrounded? The way things are going with that diplomacy? Iran is run by a bunch of theocratic whack-os who are still chopping off heads and hands in the name of their god. The Muslims of Iran hate the Muslims of Iraq, who hate the Paks, who hate the Saudis, who hate the Turks, who hate . . . Westerners!
    Where’s the benefit?

    • wildcat on September 19, 2012 at 10:57 pm

      JBS…. Looks like you and I are on the same page on this topic.

    • JBS on September 20, 2012 at 7:18 am

      I have talked with many current and former military personnel who have spent tours in Afghanistan. It is a combat zone for them. Many are scarred; most know of someone killed there. For what? They got the “America’s vital interests” meme. All question exactly what that is??
      If we are there to fight the Taliban, it hasn’t totally happened. The situation sounds like Viet Nam to me.
      How do we keep getting in these impossible situations?

  11. Lynn on September 20, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    I agree with JBS and wildcat.

  12. yeah on September 21, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    …which is why there should have been a clearly defined goal, a clearly defined criteria for exit and not just a “we’re leaving on X date”…


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