[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. A F-22 Raptor is a waist of very much money!

    A (squadron) heavily armed drone(s) can do much MORE damage, and can be at least 24/7 in the air above the (asymmetrical) target without ANY detection!

    Today, noise and bulky manned aircraft are USELESS and overkill in an asymmetrical war!

        • You have absolutely no clue what you’re talking about “Mark”. That form of drone warfare is still decades away. Is there a drone capable of air supremacy completely autonomously right now? No, there isn’t…not even close. Please, let the adults talk, go back to youtube.

          • Why was mine total comment on Cody3/75 removed Aviationist?
            Is Cody3/75 a moderator…?

            Remember, removing mine entire polite comment is censorship…
            Censorship belongs in totalitarian states with totalitarian websites…

            Again, but shorter:

            @ Cody3/75,

            You said:

            “Please, let the adults talk, go back to youtube”.

            Thank you for the insult; If you can’t win it with words, apparently you try it with an insult…

            You said:

            “Is there a drone capable of air supremacy completely autonomously right now?”.

            For a asymmetrical war you don’t need a drone supremacy, because the enemy (terrorists) has no air-force or advanced SAM’s.

            And against a symmetrical enemy, you can win a war because of the M.A.D.-principle.

    • Concur with @Cody3/75. Try to maintain a commentary standard based on fact & reality

      Without appearing insulting, every sentence you have written is factually wrong or incorrect in its context. Please understand there are actual experienced current and former Air Force service personnel, from many different countries, that read & comment here. While valid comments that add to a story/thread can be posted by anyone, posts like this serve no real benefit

      • Dear Mr Robinson,

        You said:

        “Without appearing insulting, every sentence you have written is factually wrong or incorrect in its context”.

        Be polite and say what is not correct what I claim.

        By the way, I am a NATO soldier.

        • I doubt that greatly. I’ve never heard anyone defer their service to ‘NATO’ rather than that of their nation they actually serve. I’m willing to bet that at best you live in a member nation, with not much more of a military involvement than being an interested observer, at most.

          I won’t be explaining myself to someone that claims the sacrifice & hard work f others as their own when the reality is that others efforts have earned them

          Move on before an service person takes offence at your comments

          • You made your mind up.

            I am not willing to share potential dangers information on an open forum.

            (The enemy has even the capability to infiltrated in the United States Armed Forces and American soldiers aren’t even save on their own US-bases).

            Do I exaggerate again? Google for example: Nidal Malik Hasan

            You are just like “Cody3/75”, when he absolutely! knew for sure that the Russians didn’t steel any US military equipment in Georgia in 2008…

  2. What other country would have invested the lives and money in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan? Afghanistan in particular… I was there myself 2012-2013 under rules of engagement that prioritized the safety of afghan civilians over american service members.

    I’m not trying to defend decisions made when I was a child (invasion of Iraq etc) but I think overwhelmingly average Americans have supported doing the ‘right thing’ for the civilians in these countries, in spite of the circumstances, only to be blamed as malicious war mongers.

    Some people inside and outside of the US have a narrative that there is a global monopoly on evil that is perpetuated by the corrupt US government. Irregardless of the facts, even when there are examples of genuinely bad or malicious decisions, they bend the truth to support the existence of a wholly wicked empire that is making the world it’s victim.

    • Very well said. I deployed multiple times to both Iraq and Afghan for the entire length of those two wars (first deployment in late 2011; last deployment ended in 2013) and what you said genuinely is what has happened for the most part. It’s only the largest sect of idiocy in our country that thinks we’re genuinely up to no good and that the CIA is continually doing some false flag operation. Such horseshit. I was routinely around a lot of guys from 3 letter agencies and they’re patriots through and through. The type of people that would blow the whistle then pull the trigger on that false flag shit. Still, they get painted as being the ones that are responsible for so much hate and damage. It’s unbelievably untrue.

      • I don’t want to get into a massive argument here, but I would like to note that the parties at play and the arguments involved probably aren’t all black and white. For instance, some would argue that the war in Afganistan was started to halt terrorism. That would be a good thing, I suppose. At the same time it’s said people were abducted, locked up and tortured without trial… Not so good. I guess that all we can do is, instead of calling parties purely good or bad, to be critical and see what could be improved, and paving the way for improvement – especially morally.

  3. Haha, I wasn’t questioning which flag, of course. More like, if it’s a momento as Tervlon explained, it could be any object. So, one could wonder, why a flag? But as I mentioned, it seems a good choice, for weight and display purposes.

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