President George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, was sworn in for his second term on January 20, 2005.
Is it merely a coincidence that January 20 was the date the first of four helicopters was downed by Iraqi insurgents this year?
- A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter was shot down on January 20, 2007 northeast of Baghdad and all 12 soldiers on board were killed (it was initially reported that 13 were killed).
Col. Brian D. Allgood, 46, of Oklahoma, who was assigned to the 30th Medical Brigade, Europe Regional Medical Command, Heidelberg, Germany.
Staff Sgt. Darryl D. Booker, 37, of Midlothian, Va., who was assigned to the 29th Infantry Division, Virginia Army National Guard, Sandston, Va.
Sgt. 1st Class John G. Brown, 43, of Little Rock, Ark., who was assigned to the Arkansas Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 185th Aviation Regiment (Air Assault), 77th Aviation Brigade, Camp Robinson, Ark.
Lt. Col. David C. Canegata III, 50, of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, who was assigned to the Virgin Islands Army National Guard, Christiansted, U.S. Virgin Islands.
Command Sgt. Maj. Marilyn L. Gabbard, 46, of Polk City, Iowa, who was assigned to Joint Forces Headquarters, Iowa Army National Guard, Camp Dodge, Johnston, Iowa.
Command Sgt. Maj. Roger W. Haller, 49, of Davidsonville, Md., who was assigned to the 70th Regiment, Regional Training Institute - Maryland, Maryland Army National Guard, Reisterstown, Md.
Col. Paul M. Kelly, 45, of Stafford, Va., who was assigned to the Joint Force Headquarters of the Virginia Army National Guard in Blackstone, Va.
Sgt. 1st Class Floyd E. Lake, 43, of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, who was assigned to the Virgin Islands Army National Guard, Christiansted, U.S. Virgin Islands.
Cpl. Victor M. Langarica, 29, of Decatur, Ga., who was assigned to the 86th Signal Battalion, Fort Huachuca, Ariz.
Capt. Sean E. Lyerly, 31, of Pflugerville, Texas., who was assigned to the Texas Army National Guard's 36th Combat Aviation Brigade, 36th Infantry Division, Austin, Texas.
Maj. Michael V. Taylor, 40, of North Little Rock, Ark., who was assigned to the Arkansas Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 185th Aviation Regiment (Air Assault), 77th Aviation Brigade, Camp Robinson, Ark.
1st Sgt. William T. Warren, 48, of North Little Rock, Ark., who was assigned to the Arkansas Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 185th Aviation Regiment (Air Assault), 77th Aviation Brigade, Camp Robinson, Ark.
- January 23, 2007 - during an attack on a security detail in Baghdad an OH-6A Blackwater security helicopter was shot down killing all four contractors on board. A fifth contractor was killed in a second helicopter attack.
The names of the five private security contractors employed by Blackwater Security that died on January 23, 2007 have not been released by the company.
- January 28, 2007 - An Apache helicopter was shot down in Najaf during combat operations and two soldiers were killed.
Capt. Mark T. Resh, 28, of Pittsburgh.
Chief Warrant Officer Cornell C. Chao, 36, of California.
- February 2, 2007 - An Apache helicopter was shot down near Taji killing two crew members.
The names of these two crew members have not yet been released pending notification of next of kin.
Since May of 2003 the U.S. has lost approximately 50 helicopters, 50% due to hostile fire.
Four helicopters shot down within a two-week period of time, all due to hostile fire is a significant loss, especially when the Islamic State of Iraq, a group linked to al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the February 2 crash. The following statement published by the Chicago Tribune indicates the insurgents may have developed new methods of threatening U.S. air missions.
"The air-defense brigade of the Islamic State of Iraq successfully shot down an Apache helicopter and burnt it completely near the oil reservoirs in Taji, Albu Assaf area," the statement said, promising to post pictures of the attack soon.
"Allah has helped its soldiers and showed them new methods for confronting your air force."
Are they just lucky shots or does the insurgency actually have new methods for shooting down our helicopters? The military has confirmed that all four helicopters were brought down by hostile fire.
Four helicopters and 21 lives lost in two weeks - how many more losses can the U.S. afford?