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Air Force Combat Controller shares the best method for clearing a room filled with insurgents

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Got a room or building filled with insurgents right in front of you and need to clear it? An Air Force combat controller knows the best way forward. As an elite special operations airman skilled in the art of call for fire and precision air strikes, here is step-by-step guide.

1. Identify the number of troops entering a room

It’s crucial to understand the size of the enemy element before determining the appropriate level of force to apply in any given situation.

A two-man observation post may simply call for a solid burst from the 30mm on a hovering AH-64, or perhaps a few marking “Willy Pete” rockets through the window to burn the defenders alive and really send a message to the rest of the compound that you’re not fucking around.

But if it’s a larger space, such as a multi room, multi-story complex, perhaps you want to choose something with a little more “oomph.” My personal favorite is a 500 lb GBU-38/B on one of the smaller structures. Once the survivors have clustered together in the remaining rooms, follow up with a nice 1,000 lb GBU-32(V)1/B to finish the job.

If your target is high value and positive identification is required, you may want to stick with multiple smaller yield payloads, which usually keeps the eyes and hands intact for the biometric analysis during the battlefield damage assessment.

2. Predict the shape of the room based on what it looks like from the outside

The exterior layout of a structure gives away a lot of information about what the inside might look like. If it’s a corner fed room, that leads dead space which may protect enemy personnel from the organ-liquefying overpressure of direct attack munitions, so be sure to place your ordnance “center of mass” on the structure, or risk leaving a few combatants alive and having to call in a 20mm gun-run, which takes time and unnecessary ammunition.

If you have a large compound or a multiple building layout with alternating room sizes, a CBU-105 over the entire area will seed dozens of bomblets, doing massive structural damage while inducing the remaining personnel to evacuate the area and expose themselves to small arms fire from the cordon element.

3. Consider the size of each step taken

When dropping ordnance or calling in aerial gunfire, the size of the munition is critical.

Yes it’s incredibly satisfying to watch a 2,000 pounder destroy five acres of poppy fields and 2/3rds of the adjacent village, but there may be a limited supply of those at the nearest airfield. Bombs are expensive after all. I prefer to just let the [A-10] hog drivers go to town and pick up the pieces afterwards.

Ever heard a GAU-8 tear apart a column of Toyota Hilux’s? That’s the sound of freedom.

4. Once you clear the first sector, move on but don’t flag your teammates

After raining death and destruction for an hour or so, it may be tempting to think an area is clear. However, you see some surprising things in combat. Just because the occupants of one house have been reduced to a fine pink goo doesn’t mean the grape-hut next to it isn’t filled with some really pissed off Taliban fighters waiting for the ringing in their ears to stop.

For more information on how to properly clear a room or reduce large numbers of human beings into unrecognizable chunks of meat, see your local Air Force recruiter.

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