AC-130H/U Gunship by John Hamilton

By John Hamilton

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28 A close-up view of an AC-130 gunship flying over Honduras in 1987. The AC-130 was first used in combat during the Vietnam War in the late 1960s. Since then, it has flown missions in Grenada, Panama, Bosnia, Somalia, Iraq (including Operation Desert Storm), and Afghanistan. The United States relies more and more on special operations missions, where close air support is critical. The AC-130 continues to play an important role on the modern battlefield. 29 ALLIED FORCES Nations that are allied, or joined, in a fight against a common enemy.

GPS (GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM) A system of orbiting satellites that transmits information to GPS receivers on Earth. Using information from the satellites, receivers can calculate location, speed, and direction with great accuracy. INFANTRY Soldiers who move and fight mainly on foot. NAUTICAL MILE A standard way to measure distance, especially when traveling in an aircraft or ship. It is based on the circumference of the Earth, the distance around the equator. This large circle is divided into 360 degrees.

A war fought from 1990-1991 in Iraq and Kuwait between the forces of Iraq’s President Saddam Hussein and a group of United Nations countries led by the United States. SHRAPNEL A deadly fragment of a bomb that flies through the air after the explosion. SMART BOMB Precision-guided weapons, also called “smart bombs,” are bombs or missiles that can be steered in mid-air toward their targets. They are guided by lasers, radar, or satellite signals. STRAFE When low-flying aircraft fly toward and attack objects on the ground, usually with rapid-firing weapons.

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