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What the Numbers Show

December 23, 2005—As Air Force Magazine reported in July 2003, airpower statistics gathered by US Central Command Air Forces show that USAF flew nearly 60 percent of the total air sorties during Gulf War II. Even today, though, some defense analysts tend to downplay the Air Force role, saying USAF had a problem with basing access and trumpeting the effort of the Navy and Marine Corps carrier-based air. The numbers have not changed. Of the four services, USAF flew 45 percent of the strike sorties. It is true that, if you combine the Navy and Marine Corps strike numbers, the two services flew 9,362 sorties; USAF alone flew 9,333—that is a difference of less that half of one percent. So much for lack of access.

Source: “Operation Iraqi Freedom—By the Numbers,” dated April 30, 2003. The data covers the major combat portion (March 19-April 18, 2003) of Operation Iraqi Freedom.