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    ABC News Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz stands atop an F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jet at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, before her embed on a mission with the Air Force's 455th Air Expeditionary Wing. Raddatz is the first reporter ever to fly on a combat mission aboard an Air Force fighter jet.
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  • Exclusive: Embedded on an F-15E Mission in Afghanistan

    ABC News producer Richard Coolidge stands in front of a manned drone. The MC-12 is one of the Air Force's newest platforms. It does intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR).
    ABC News
  • Exclusive: Embedded on an F-15E Mission in Afghanistan

    From left to right, signals intelligence operator Senior Airman Thorin Butler, pilot Lt. Benjamin Mallott, ABC News producer Richard Coolidge, sensor operator Staff Sgt. Brenton Myers, and mission commander Capt. Will McDougall at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.
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    ABC News cameraman Thorsten Hoefle mounts cameras inside an F-15E fighter jet in advance of the mission.
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    Col. Jack Briggs, commander of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing, right, and F-15E pilot Col. Joe Beissner, vice commander of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing, pose for a quick photo.
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    Raddatz and Beissner take a final inspection of their jet before suiting up.
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    Before her flight, Raddatz grabs her helmet and oxygen mask from her locker, just as an F-15E fighter jet crewmember would before a mission.
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    Raddatz and Beissner head towards their jet. Raddatz is suited up in an ejection seat harness, a vest carrying emergency equipment, and a G-suit, which counteracts the gravitational forces in the air by placing pressure on the lower body to keep blood flowing in the upper portion of the body.
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    Raddatz and Beissner review their mission plan before climbing into their F-15E fighter jet.
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    ABC News producer Richard Coolidge, Raddatz, Beissner, and Hoefle pause for a photo before the flight.
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    Hoefle films as Raddatz and Beissner get strapped into their fighter jet, minutes before takeoff.
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    The F-15E Strike Eagle is an air-to-ground attack aircraft, and seats one pilot and one weapon systems officer. According to an Air Force fact sheet, its wingspan is 42.8 feet, its length 63.8 feet, and height 18.5 feet. It can fly up to 60,000 feet above ground. Each one costs over $31.1 million.
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    The ground crew gives the final go-ahead for takeoff.
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    Raddatz and Beissner taxi on the runway as they prepare for takeoff.
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    Takeoff! An F-15E can go up to 20,000 feet in about 60 seconds. This one is carrying a one 2,000-pound bomb, two 500-pound laser guided bombs, three 500-pound GPS bomb, two air-to-air missiles, and 510 20mm rounds for the jet's Gatling gun.
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    Raddatz snaps a photo flying sideways.
    Courtesy Martha Raddatz/ABC News
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    Raddatz captures a refueling mission in mid-flight. An Air Force fuel tanker, top, refuels another F-15E fighter jet, below, using a 20-foot boom. This mission is done flying more than 300 knots, more than 20,000 feet in the air.
    Courtesy Martha Raddatz/ABC News
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    Raddatz takes off her oxygen mask. The cockpit is pressurized, so an oxygen mask is only necessary during takeoff, landing, emergency ejection and for communicating. The pilot must wear an oxygen mask at all times.
    Courtesy Martha Raddatz/ABC News
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    Raddatz and Beissner fly over Afghanistan's Hindu Kush mountain range.
    Courtesy Martha Raddatz/ABC News
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    Raddatz holds an American flag that the pilot kept in the cockpit of the jet -- a souvenir from her first mission.
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    Back on the ground, Raddatz takes a photo with all crew members -- pilots and weapon systems officers -- of the three jets taking part in the mission.
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