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Some Copters in Iraq Lacked Missile Defense

November 13, 2003|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has told an Illinois senator that some of the helicopters from his local National Guard unit had been operating in Iraq without missile defenses, the senator's spokesman said Wednesday.

Army officials told Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin that the Chinook helicopter shot down over Iraq this month had the equipment but that six of 14 copters used by the combined Illinois-Iowa National Guard unit had gone without it until mid-September, spokesman Joe Shoemaker said.

Twelve of the 14 copters had the equipment before being shipped to Iraq, but it was damaged in transit on six, Shoemaker said.

Army spokesman Maj. Gary Tallman confirmed that Durbin was briefed on Monday but said he had no details on what was said, nor whether a review of other units had been made.

Durbin had questioned the Pentagon on the subject after the Nov. 2 downing of the CH-47 Chinook, in which 16 were killed. Officials have said that the aircraft fired its flares but that they didn't deflect the enemy missile.

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