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Providing CAS for Arrowhead Ripper: Airmen flying and maintaining F-16s and A-10s deployed to Balad Air Base and Al Asad Airfield in Iraq, have been supplying close air support for some 10,000 ground forces engaged in Operation Arrowhead Ripper. Ripper has been waged over the past two weeks as part of a "systematic" effort to clear weapons caches, bomb factories, and terrorist safehouses, reports 1st Lt. Shannon Collins. The aircraft, directed by Joint Terminal Attack Controllers embedded with ground forces, have provided shows of force and bombed booby-trapped houses and insurgent hideouts. A-10s also used their cannons to strafe enemy forces hiding in a palm grove. JTACs confirmed direct hits on improvised explosive device factories and other targets. The Viper and Warthog crews are flying 24-hour CAS during the operation.