March 27, 1999 - F-117 Shootdown

I’m a bit surprised there isn’t more on this; today marks 20 years since an F-117 was shot down during Allied Force.

Conversely, March 23 marked 20 years since Allied Force kicked off. I’d highly recommend those interested to read “A-10s Over Kosovo” which is available from the US DOD’s website in PDF format:

I wasn’t even a teenager at the time, so my only memory of it was when some of the state Army Guard’s UH-60s were sent over as part of the operation, but later I worked with a guy who had gone through Macedonia during his Army career and had described just going through the winding mountains and roadside to have been the most terrifying period of his career, bar none.


That was really a good book. I remember it was well written and extremely informative about A-10 operations in the theater. Was a must read when I got DCS A-10C.

I also remember another book I read regarding Kosovo and the F-14. That was superb as well. I been thinking of re-reading that one because of the DCS/Heatblur F-14B.


I remember the mountains and valleys of Kosovo & Mace well still. It was a bit less dangerous by the time I went in 2005, of course. By and large the general population was not hostile to us.

This was Route Hawk in the autumn:


“Sorry, we didn’t know it was invisible”

Great propaganda there :wink:


Of course it’s not. That was just lazy media making up a concept they could grasp and then parroting it around as if it was fact.

I learned during ODS that the media knows less about military tactics than it does healthcare or politics.


I was running the HQ EUCOM Intel Watch that night…a very long night. At HQ, intel had the first indications that we had lost the F-117 and I told the Battle Watch Captain (a USAF O6 if I remember correctly)…still remember that unbelieving look he gave me…had to assure him I wasn’t exaggerating.

Then the long, long, CSAR effort that almost ended in failure. The issue was getting everybody to a fuel state where they could do their part of the mission. The F-16s would get their fuel but by the time they had finished, the OA-10 Sandy’s had to go hit the tanker and by the time they were done, somebody else needed gas…you get the picture. That’s when first learned that in an air battle, it is all about “gas in the air” - efficient tanking is crucial - if you can’t make that happen, you might as well go home.

The sun was coming up in Serbia in something like 40 minus when somebody at the CFACC (I’ve always assumed it was CFACC-actual) got on the net and said something like, “We got one more chance to get this done. So finish the tanking and go do it.” …and they did…

Wow! That was 20 years ago. I remember that night like it was yesterday.


As was evident in this press conference…parody…but funny because it isn’t that far from reality.


Yeah, you’re telling me. I was an F-117 maintainer most of my career but happened to get snagged for a short-tour to Korea during Allied Force. Having to watch that unfold from the sidelines was one helpless feeling.

Here is a good write-up on the pick-up if anybody is interested:

Col Zelko gave a lecture on it here too. The audio is pretty ratty but it is a good presentation if you have an hour to kill:


GODDAMMIT! I know that is a comedy piece but it nearly enraged me… :anger::angry:

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I was amazed again at how many in that clip are no longer with us. :frowning:

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