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by Edgar Morrison, PAO Staff


The politically-embattled AH-64 Apache attack helicopter tallied several successful missions during 3rd Armored Division's land rout of Iraq's Republican Guard.

Soft-spoken 1st Lt. Mark Warnicke swears by the Apache. "The Apaches are one hell of an aircraft. They can direct a lot of firepower very quickly anywhere on the battlefield. They kick ass, pure and simple."

He remained every bit as adamant. "They can take out tanks; they can take out anything that anybody's got to give to them. A Hellfire missile will take out a tank in a heartbeat."

Warnicke recalled a mission flown by Warrant Officer William K. Armstrong, co-pilot gunner, and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Robert Bachand, pilot. Warnicke said that Armstrong kicked into action during a battle on Feb. 27.

"He just said he had a T-72 out in the open and it was rolling; so he fired off a Hellfire missile at it and all you'd see is a big streak of white light leaving the aircraft.

"The trajectory kind of comes down on top of the tank. You just see a big explosion where the tank used to be." Warnicke said that the tank Armstrong hit was having secondary explosions for about 20 minutes after he hit it with one Hellfire.

The effects of the missile kept ringing out. "All of the rounds inside the tank kept cooking off. And each time it did, it was a ball of flame, probably a good 50 feet in diameter, that just blew up and out of it.

"And he only engaged it once."

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