March 19, 2003
CVN-75 is currently on station north of Alexandria, Egypt.
Turkey, Israel, Jordan and Syria have denied airspace use for Operation Iraqi Freedom missions. CNO had directed that the Med carrier groups will have to return home if they cannot contribute to the ATO for OIF.
This left the Tomcats of VF32, Prowlers of VAQ 130, Hornets of VFA 37,105 and VMFA 115 no choice but to route down the Sinai Peninsula, across the Gulf of Aqaba then enter Saudi Arabian airspace south of the Jordanian border, continue through Saudi Arabia and on to Iraq and targets in Baghdad. These events are detailed in "Tanker Pilot" by Mark Hasara (LCol. USAF ret), in the chapter "Cyrus Crosses the Sinai". Naturally tanker support was critical for mission success. Take on the role of Capt. Mark "Cyrus" Vance, CAG of CVW3 to plan and execute a mission to take out the Baghdad AD Command Center