F-22 Raptor Carried US Flag on Maiden Combat Mission Into Syria

(Maj. Jefferson S. Heiland/U.S. Air Force)


One of the F-22 Raptor fighter jets that went on the fleet's first ever combat mission in Syria carried an American flag into battle, according to a mid-air photograph snapped of the plane just after the mission.

The photo was taken from an Air Force refueling plane as the next generation F-22 filled its tanks after its mission to strike a single Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) target in Syria - a mission the Air Force said was a " success." A folded American flag can be seen in the cockpit, in front of the pilot, as reported by The Aviationist.

Though it was a special flight for the F-22 - the first time any planes from the $79 billion fleet have gone into combat since going operational in 2005 - Capt. Chris Hoyler, an Air Force spokesperson, told ABC News that it's "not unusual for Air Force pilots and aircrews to fly American flags during training and combat operations."

Pictures showing an ISIS command and control Center in Syria before, left, and after it was struck by bombs dropped by a U.S. F-22 fighter jet are seen in handouts released by the U.S. Department of Defense, Sept. 23, 2014. (Department of Defense)

The Raptor had sat out two previous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and one other smaller conflict in Libya before joining in the fight against ISIS. Though the Air Force said previously the planes simply weren't necessary for the other conflicts, for years the pricey Raptors had also been plagued with mysterious and potentially deadly oxygen-related problems, which the Air Force believes it has since solved.

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