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Odyssey Dawn: U.S. Joins Coalition Partners to Establish a No-fly Zone Over Libya

The United States has joined with coalition partners to establish a no-fly zone over Libya in response to a United Nations resolution.

President Barack Obama has called for a limited military action under United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1973, to end the violence against Libyan citizens by the government of Libya.

In response to a call for action by the Libyan people and the Arab League, and in partnership with coalition partners, President Barack Obama has called for a limited military action under United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1973, to end the violence against Libyan citizens by the government of Libya.

Operation Odyssey Dawn

Maj. Lucas Teel, 492nd Fighter Squadron pilot, and Lt. Col. Clint Mixon, 492nd FS commander, prepare to taxi their F-15E Strike Eagle prior to their departure from RAF Lakenheath, England, March 19, 2011, in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Lee A. Osberry Jr.

The UNSCR authorizes use of force with an explicit commitment to pursue all necessary measures, to include the enforcement of a no-fly zone over Libya.

The president stated that military action would not involve U.S. troops on the ground in Libya.

“The first steps of establishing any no-fly zone are taking out the adversary’s air defenses.”

The U.S. naval forces participated in cruise missile strikes as part of Operation Odyssey Dawn designed to set the conditions for a coalition no-fly zone. Carefully coordinating with coalition partners, the U.S. took action against more than 20 air defense facilities and other targets that are part of Libya’s integrated air defense system March 19 as part of the initial strike.

“The first steps of establishing any no-fly zone are taking out the adversary’s air defenses,” Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy explained during a BBC interview. U.S. and British warships fired 124 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Libyan integrated air and missile defense system, and American B-2 bombers attacked Libyan airfields, she said.

Operation Odyssey Dawn

Royal Air Force VC10 and Tristar air-to-air refuelling aircraft from RAF Brize Norton supported overnight operations (March 19) against targets in Libya, as part of the enforcement of UN Security Council Resolution 1973. They accompanied RAF Tornado GR4 fast jets from RAF Marham that struck Libya’s air defenses in the longest strike mission since the Black Buck operations during the Falklands conflict. Crown Copyright photo by Senior Aircraftman Neil Chapman

“This is an increasingly broad international coalition that includes not only the United States and European nations, but a number of Arab nations that are stepping up to provide various forms of assistance, whether it is military participation, access, basing, financial support and so forth,” she said.

Coalition countries include the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Greece, Belgium, Norway, Qatar and the United States.

The Tomahawk and B-2 strikes were used to destroy Libyan air defense systems, surface-to-air missile sites and communication nodes.

The Tomahawk and B-2 strikes were used to destroy Libyan air defense systems, surface-to-air missile sites and communication nodes.

U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirits, F-15E Strike Eagles and F-16CJ Fighting Falcons launched during the early hours of March 20 in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn.

Operation Odyssey Dawn

A Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s AV-8B Harrier jump jet returns to USS Kearsarge for fuel and ammunition resupply while conducting air strikes in support of Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn, March 20, 2011. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Michael S. Lockett

Following the initial launch of Tomahawk missiles, three U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirit aircraft from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., led strikes on a variety of strategic targets over Libya. U.S. fighter aircraft created airspace where no enemy forces could advance on Libyan opposition troops.

“It was a spectacular display of airmanship watching this coalition come together the way it did to execute the first air strikes on behalf of the Libyan people,” said Maj. Gen. Margaret H. Woodward, Operation Odyssey Dawn Joint Force Air Component Commander. “Our bombers and fighters performed magnificently and we are fully behind protecting the innocent Libyan citizens while ensuring the safety of coalition aircraft.”

“It was a spectacular display of airmanship watching this coalition come together the way it did to execute the first air strikes on behalf of the Libyan people.”

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, speaking to reporters, said the coalition effort must be “a meaningful coalition, meaning other countries making serious military contributions so the United States isn’t carrying the pre-eminent responsibility for an indefinite period of time.”

The U.S. Navy will continue to use its unique capabilities to create the conditions under which the coalition can best enforce the full measure of the UN mandate, according to a Navy statement.

5,100 sailors, Marines, soldiers, airmen and civilians are involved in Operation Odyssey Dawn.

 

Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn Command Structure

  • U.S. Joint Task Force (JTF) Odyssey Dawn is commanded by Adm. Samuel J. Locklear, III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, and is operating aboard USS Mount Whitney (LCC/JCC 20), currently deployed in the Mediterranean Sea. The JTF was established to provide operational and tactical command and control of U.S. military forces supporting the international response to the unrest in Libya.
  • The Joint Forces Maritime Component Command (JFMCC) is commanded by Vice Adm. Harry B. Harris, Jr.
  • U.S. forces assigned to the JFMCC are: Expeditionary Strike Group 5, commanded by Rear Adm. Margaret Klein; Navy Tactical Air Control Center (TACRON) 21; five U.S. Navy ships; three U.S. Military Sealift Command vessels; three U.S. submarines; 28 Navy and U.S. Marine Corps aircraft (to include P-3, EP-3, EA-18G, AV-8B, KC-130J, MV-22, CH-53 and MH-60), elements of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit; explosive ordnance disposal teams and a maritime expeditionary security squadron.  TACRON 21 managed control of all U.S. strike aircraft March 19.

 

Mobilizing Ready Forces

  • U.S. ships supporting the JTF include the command ship Mount Whitney; Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Stout (DDG 55) and USS Barry (DDG 52) and submarines USS Providence (SSN 719), USS Scranton (SSN 756) and USS Florida (SSGN 728), which launched Tomahawks at more than 20 air defense facilities ashore in Libya March 19; USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) and USS Ponce (LPD 15).
  • U.S. Navy EA-18G Growlers from coalition bases and Marine Corps AV-8B Harriers aboard USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) launched in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn March 20. Navy Growlers provided electronic warfare support over Libya while AV-8B Harriers from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit conducted strikes against Qadhafi’s ground forces and air defenses.

By

Capt. Edward H. Lundquist, U.S. Navy (Ret.) is a senior-level communications professional with more than...

    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-1243">

    Less video footage from this operation, than previous ones.

    li class="comment odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1" id="comment-1393">

    Here I was, thinking that Harriers are not being used in Libya, don’t know where I got that info from…I guess photos prove me wrong.

    Does anyone here know what bombers are being deployed, if any? Thanks for answering, guys.

    David

    li class="comment byuser comment-author-chuck-oldham even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-1394">
    Chuck Oldham (Editor)

    David,

    Harriers also escorted the TRAP mission that recovered the Strike Eagle pilot and WSO who went down in Libya. They were picked up by a Marine Corps MV-22 in what I believe was its first such mission.

    Do you mean big bombers like the B-2? If so, at the time we posted the photo gallery the Spirits were the only bombers involved, and they were flying from Whiteman AFB.