Day One - The Message
On the first day of combat operations, Joint Task Force Heavy fulfilled orders to evacuate Dubai International Airport, but with some fair hardships.
- Almost immediately after all aircraft had departed, Patriot Missile Batteries near Al Maktoum detected and fired upon unknown aircraft - out to sea, west of the city.
VF-131 and VMFA-390 Hornets intercepted an Iranian F-5E-3 off the coast of Palm Jebel, destroying it with a missile, approximately one mile from the shoreline - to the dismay of thousands of beach-goers. The Iranian pilot was killed.
- The 48th Attack and Rescue Squadron came under heavy small arms fire and AAA that was located in a Cement Factory south of FARP Dallas, sustaining damage to two UH-1H Iroquois helicopters, and minor to serious injuries to the crew members of each aircraft. Both helicopters made it safely to base, where repairs are currently taking place.
- A Harrier from VMA-290 took damage from the same attackers, but only after that jet took out several of the hostile units. The job done by the Harrier (and his wing-men) quite possibly saved the lives of the UH-1H crews. The damaged Harrier diverted back to Dubai International, where it landed short of the runway, skidding to a stop on 37th Street, in front of the Abaya Mall buildings. The pilot successfully ejected, and was kept safe by friendly citizens before rescue was initiated.
- An F-14B Tomcat from VFC-119 was also lost due to an unknown controls malfunction over the town of Al Hamra while on return from a sortie. Both pilots successfully ejected, and the crash site has been taken over by Special Forces Soldiers until all parts can be trucked to a safe location for storage and disposal.
- A USAF KC-135B Stratotanker was lost while in the pattern for Al Dhafra, with all three crew members perishing in the crash.
Protesters, with suspected insurgent assistance, breached airport perimeter fences and damaged seven commercial aircraft on the north tarmac hours after the final HVY assets departed - with damage estimated to be up to $15 million USD. In addition, UAE residents have started more demonstrations in response to the downed Iranian fighter jet, in pockets across the country.
When word of the downed F-5E-3 Tiger II reached the Iranian Government, state run television in Iran began the condemnation of the "Reckless US Forces, who kill without cause, who will pay for their war-crimes."
It is noted that the waters in the Persian Gulf are heavily disputed and largely claimed by Iran.