[Photo] Aboard USS George H.W. Bush: the aircraft carrier that launched first airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq

These are some action shots from the only photographer to have been on USS George H.W. Bush out in the Gulf few days before it launched the first airstrikes against ISIS positions in Iraq.

On Aug. 8, at approximately 10:45 UTC, the U.S. military launched the first targeted airstrike against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorists.

According to Pentagon, “Two F/A-18 aircraft dropped 500-pound laser-guided bombs on a mobile artillery piece near Erbil. ISIL was using this artillery to shell Kurdish forces defending Erbil where U.S. personnel are located.”


Then, the U.S. launched a second round of airstrikes, which involved an RPA (Remotely Piloted Aircraft), that struck a terrorist mortar position twice, and four Hornets which successfully struck a stationary ISIL convoy of seven vehicles and a mortar position near Erbil.

E-2C Hawkeye

The manned planes involved in the first airstrikes belong to the Carrier Air Wing 8 embarked on USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier.

Few days ago, photographer Rich Cooper, went aboard the carrier sailing in the Gulf where it took the images you can find in this post. These were the last taken before the CVW-8 launched the first airstrikes against ISIS.

Hornet front

Operating from USS George Bush are also some of U.S. Navy’s last EA-6Bs on their final cruise (the Prowler will be out of service at the end of this year.)

EA-6B Prowler

Image credit: RC-Pro Photography

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.