Picture 2

Picture 2

May 9, 2014

Why No Effort to Support Benghazi?

The part of the Benghazi debacle that really bothers me is during the attack. As far as I can tell, absolutely no military effort was made to support our people under attack. Why didn't the USAF scramble F-16 fighters from Aviano in Northern Italy to be over Benghazi for air support? Aviano should have been able to launch armed and fueled F-16 aircraft within 2-3 hours, assuming a maximum effort. Cruising speed for an F-16 is 577 mph. The distance from Aviano to Benghazi is 2256 miles. So it seems that Benghazi is less than 4 hours flight time from Aviano, Italy, so our folks in Benghazi could have had air support by the time the CIA Annex was attacked. USAF tanker aircraft are stationed at Sigonella in Sicily which could have refueled the F-16 aircraft from Aviano so that they could stay over Benghazi for a while once they got there. As a side comment, Sigonella is used as a transit airfield for aircraft deploying to the Middle East or returning to the US from the Middle East. It is about a 2.5 hour flight from Benghazi. I really want to know if any fighter aircraft happened to be at Sigonella on 9/11/12. As a Vietnam era USAF veteran, I think our failure to even attempt to send any assistance to our people under attack is shameful. I really want to know why no effort was made.

On Further Review:

I know that KC-135 and KC-10 aircraft can and do fly out of Sigonella.
However, on further review,  it seems to be true that no tankers were there for 9/11/12. I assumed that it was likely that a couple of tankers were rotated through there almost constantly, but that, perhaps, was a mistake.

I got the cruising speed here
F-16 squadrons at Aviano here

Assuming that the Generals and Admirals testifying in Congress are telling the truth, there were no military assets that could get to Benghazi in 12 hours or less.  If we didn’t have any assets that could get to Benghazi, the question becomes why not?  The date of the attack as the 11th anniversary of the 9/11/2001.  Why didn’t we have tankers in place in Sigonella, Italy, just in case we needed to move the bombers from Aviano to somewhere in North Africa?  It’s not like there was no turmoil or risk in the region.