[Photo] F-22 Raptor stealth jet pilot flies air strike in Syria with U.S. flag in the cockpit

Close up image unveils an interesting detail inside the cockpit of an F-22 Raptor.

The photo in this post shows an F-22 Raptor of the 1st Fighter Wing, taking fuel after a mission over Syria, where the stealth fighter jet had its baptism of fire operating along other U.S. assets including the F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft.

The image, taken from a KC-135 tanker (based at Al Udeid, Qatar), shows an interesting detail inside the cockpit of the F-22, based at Al Dhafra, UAE, where the Strike Eagles are deployed as well: a U.S. flag.

It’s not infrequent for U.S. pilots to carry the American flag inside the cockpit during real ops and wars.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force via Guido Olimpio


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.


  1. Your knowledge of what is/has gone on in Iraq and Afghanistan is desperately lacking (as is most Americans). I suggest rereading “BingTon Ting” is saying. More learning from you, and less teaching, would be fantastic.

    • All right then Cody I’m a willing student. Now. Tell us how to take the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the existing leadership cadres, and the existing moneyed interests as they are, and tell us where they need to be moved with a end state that will still be there when we leave. And having defined the strategy of where you are and then where we want to be. Tell us how those nation’s, people, government, and power elite are going to be moved by the application of diplomacy and military force.

      But you know what Cody, I’ll bet your answer is to kill anyone in their government and power elite who hates us, and to kick in the doors of the people you’re not sure of. And I’ll bet you’re not sure of a lot. I’ll bet even after having been there, you have no idea what works and what does not. Maybe you don’t even care. Maybe you just like to apply force. But hey, I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong. I’m listening.

        • “Out of line”? I thought that your country was supposed to be the land of the free, that you didn’t have to toe the same line as everybody else. Perhaps I’m wrong.

    • Bibi and Sharon’s plan throughout the 1990’s was “peace through Baghdad”. They wanted a war in Iraq (led by the US) to redraw the map in Israel’s favor. In the mid to late 1990’s PNAC was pushing and lobbying for a war by the US to topple Saddam Hussein. Come 2001, many members of PNAC became members in the Bush administration (Feith, Perle, Adelman, Libby). They and AIPAC pushed for the war, and it became a reality in 2003. I am not saying Saddam was a saint, but it is rather ironic that when he was gassing the Kurds back in the mid 1980’s nobody said anything about that. The same day that he attacked a Kurdish village, he was shaking Don Rumsfeld’s hand. And why wait nearly 20 years to now refer to him as this evil man; who also supposedly had ties to AQ (which turned out to be untrue). The fact of the matter is Saddam kept Iraq and the central mid-east in check. He protected the Christians in his country. When he was in power Iraq had over 1,000,000 Christians, now that number is estimated to be only 300,000. Up until the toppling of Hussein the central mid-east was relatively stable. Now it is in total disorder with AQII, ISIL, and other sunni extremist groups.
      Obama is making the problem even worse. He wants to remove Assad, who is secular; and be replaced by whom?? AQ, ISIL, or other muslim fanatics?? Assad may be a thug, but at least he is secular and not an islamist. While Christians were being murdered in Syria and Iraq, Obama sat and did nothing. Does he want the middle east to be emptied of it’s Christians who have been there since the time of Jesus Christ??

      • Indeed, the more you mess in other countries politics, the less chance they have of sorting themselves out and growing as a nation. Also if you look back at Saddam’s history you see that the USA worried about the economic consequences of the Iran Revolution of 79 asked him to get involved and start a war. Kuwait banks funded the conflict but when they demanded payments of $80bn he was hoping the people who requested the war might help out with the payments. Being the CIA golden boy who after being booted out of Iraq in the 1950s fleeing to Egypt, gave the CIA the names of all the communists in Iraq up who were in power and thus he could return home and take control. Best summation about the threat of communism I saw the other day on CNN was not the ideology or military but the effect to American commercial interests. Indeed Assad has a very difficult position. The west & isreal have been messing with the country since the 1920s. Considering his country has been bombed on and off for the last 30 years at least, hes pretty liberal to be honest. How you can have a moral crusade against this guy and not Robert Mugabe I will never know.

  2. Oh, you’re another one of our resident Russian trolls. US lost the war in Georgia in 2008? We never fought a war in GA. There is also no US base in Georgia.

    American Green Berets have been advisors to the Georgians for two+ decades now. It’s called FID. Foreign Internal Defense and the US military does it for tens of units all over the world. Get a clue. Georgian “Commandos” deployed to Iraq in support of OIF. A green beret ODA, living with the host nation hardly equates to a US base. I’ll say it again, there is no base in Georgia. Nice try though…

    Don’t flatter yourself though, the Russian military sure didn’t face American service members, much less the American military. Anything that Russians captured in Georgia belong to…you guessed it, Georgia!

    Like i already said, back to YouTube.

    • @ Cody3/75,

      Cody, you are unfortunately dead wrong about my loyalty.

      Come on Cody, I am against the dangerous totalitarian bandit state called Russia, and I am a STRONG supporter of the US!

      What else could you say about current performance of bulling Russia?

      The US liberated MY country in 1945, and that’s what we will NEVER forget!!!

      You are right, their was no direct military conflict between the US and Russia in the Georgian war 2008, but:

      Georgia was supported by the US with military equipment en military information, because Russia threatened Georgia’s sovereignty; just what Russia is doing right now in Ukraine.

      I use your own sentence:

      “American Green Berets have been advisor’s to the Georgians for two+ decades now”.

      No US military equipment was stolen by the bandit Russians?

      See this link:


      The US could not intervene because Russia (in)directly was threatening with nuclear weapons in 2008, just what they are doing right now in Ukraine!

      I think, Russia under Vladimir Putin is a very direct dangerous threat for world peace, because Putin talked about the use of nuclear weapons and Barack Obama never did.

      Putin occupied the Crimea in Ukraine, and again used the treat of nuclear weapons not to intervene…

      I also know that Russia is no match for the US military, because technological the Russians are way back in technological development or technological warfare: I hope it will stay this way forever!

        • No, offence Cody!

          I never pretend to know “all” the right answers.

          When someone knows something more than I, and can prove it, I am learning something new and am grateful.

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