BALTIMORE, Md. (WJZ)– The massive battle to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from ISIS is raging on. U.S troops are helping local forces to regain control of the city from the grips of the Islamic state and now, nearly 300 Maryland National Guard members are helping in the fight.
The two major resources coming from Maryland are man power and warplanes, uniquely equipped to protect the military from above.
Also on the front lines in the middle east are U.S. service members and 12 A-10 war planes from Maryland, nick-named wart-hogs does this one particular job very well according to Colonel Charles Kohler with the Maryland Air National Guard who also says the A-10s are vital because they’ll be flying low to protect service-members on the ground from attacks.
“It’s incredibly important. In any operation you want to be able to bring all of the tools to the fight and this is one of those tools that you need to use,” said Kohler.
Approximately 280 members of the Air National Guard were activated. Their deployment is expected to last for six months.
The main mission will be to regain control of Mosul. The second largest Iraqi city that ISIS captured two years ago.
As these troops move in, there are now signs the terror group is losing ground.
“They have found that when they stand and fight they die pretty quickly – through a combination of strikes from us and then the Iraqis continuing to mass on them at that point,” said U.S. Army Major General Gary Volesky.
The air force has considered terminating use of these warplanes, but given its track record — that’s been put on hold.
“It’s a capability that you can call on in a moment’s notice and you can literally change the course of the battle based on the air craft being there,” said Kohler.
The major general on the ground says this could be a tough fight because ISIS will not just give up its last major stronghold.
Experts believe there are 3-to 5,000 ISIS fighters still inside Mosul.