Monday, August 11, 2008

U.S. takes Georgian troops home from Iraq

By Michael Hoffman - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Aug 11, 2008 18:19:10 EDT

The U.S. Air Force brought all 2,000 Georgian troops home from Iraq aboard C-17 Globemasters Sunday and Monday after the Georgian government recalled the troops to combat the advance of Russian troops into the country, said Lt. Gen. Gary North, commander of U.S. Air Forces Central.

Sixteen C-17 flights had shuttled Georgian troops and supplies from Iraq back to Georgia as of 9 a.m. EST on Monday, North said. The Georgian government on Friday requested the U.S. Air Force’s aid in bringing its troops home, he said.

“This is just another example of the flexibility of airpower,” he told Air Force Times. “I’m real proud of the ability of our airmen to orchestrate a movement such as this.”

Pentagon officials would not say where the C-17s dropped off the Georgian troops or if they entered Georgian airspace, but Associated Press photos show the Georgian troops disembarking in Tblisi, Georgia’s capital.

HAKH AIVAZOV / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Georgian soldiers are seen after returning home from Iraq on Aug. 11. The U.S. started flying some 2,000 Georgian troops home from Iraq on Aug. 10. Russian armored vehicles rolled deep into western Georgia on Aug. 11, quickly taking control of several towns and a military base.

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