Sunday, March 20, 2011

Belgium goes to war

I was hoping it wouldn't happen, but isn't hope one of the many casualties of war? provides an overview of the Belgian forces that will assist in enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya. About 230 Belgian men and women in total will be involved.
'Our forces will be ready for deployment as of Monday,' says Claude Van de Voorde, commander of the Air Force. 'At this moment, the C-130s are being loaded with weapons for our F-16s.'
He explains that the six single-seat F-16s that have been assigned to the Libya mission are part of a larger group that was already on a training mission to Greece when the no-fly zone was established. 12 or 13 pilots will accompany the planes, making it possible to keep them in the air for twenty-four hours a day.

The Belgian Navy will also be involved:
In addition to the jet fighters, our country offers the services of the minesweeper Narcis, which is already in operation in the Mediterranean. The ship is manned by 32 officers, petty officers and sailors from the naval base at Zeebrugge.
M923 Narcis. (Source)

The article ends with another quote from Major-General Van de Voorde:
'We are not war heroes, only people who do their jobs. It is our task to carry out a political decision,' says the leader of the Air Force. 'There are already casualties on the ground. Our people understand that they will be in dangerous situations. We do not want unnecessary casualties. In Afghanistan we have six F-16's. So far we have had no cases of collateral damage (civilians slain in bombings, ed.).'
Here's to the Belgian Armed Forces maintaining their good track record.

You can read the full Nieuwsblad article (in Dutch) here.

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