Today in History – January 29, 1991 – Eagle shoots down Iraqi MiG-23’s

29 January 1991 – An American F-15C shot down an IRAF MiG-23 fleeing to Iran with an AIM-7 missile.

“During the Air War over Iraq, the mighty Eagle proved to be a very robust airframe, bringing back its pilots after suffering serious damages.

After the first ten days of the first Gulf Air War, to avoid the destruction of their air force, Iraqis flew their aircraft to Iran. To prevent this “exodus” the U.S. Air Force established a permanent BARCAP (BARrier Combat Air Patrol) whose aim was to protect the zone between the Iraq and Iran borders, 24 hours each day of the week.

The task to fly these missions was given to the F-15s flights: each of them was composed of four airplanes which covered a six-hour window before being replaced by the following four-ship of Eagles. On Jan. 28, 1991, one of these BARCAP was flown by four F-15s belonging to the “Wolfhounds” of the 32nd TFS (Tactical Fighter Squadron) from Soesterberg, deployed to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey.

Capt. Don “Muddy” Watrous piloted the Eagle number four of the formation. Watrous fired its last AIM-7 and the Sparrow hit the bandit which lost its right wing and crashed on the ground inverted, leaving no time for the pilot to start the ejection sequence.

Watrous had to wait several days before its kill was confirmed and the bandit was identified as a MiG-23 Flogger. The aerial victory was the only kill for the  “Wolfhounds”  during Desert Storm, their last major deployment, before being disbanded in January 1994. “(1)

Watrous flew 19 combat missions in Operation Desert Storm; and until 2006 was Commander of the 46th Test Group at Holloman AFB. (2)

For the full story go to

(1) by Dario Leone, How a U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagle shot down an Iraqi Mig-23 Flogger during Desert Storm
January 29, 2014, Military Aviation


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