A military cargo plane carrying three senators — Mel Martinez (R-FL), Richard Shelby (R-AL), and James Inhofe (R-OK) — and a House member — Bud Cramer (D-IL) — was forced to take evasive maneuvers and dispatch flares to avoid ground fire after taking off from Baghdad on Thursday night. The AP reports:
The lawmakers said their plane, a C-130, was under fire from three rocket-propelled grenades over the course of several minutes as they left for Amman, Jordan.
”It was a scary moment,” said Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., who said he had just taken off his body armor when he saw a bright flash outside the window. ”Our pilots were terrific. … They banked in one direction and then banked the other direction, and they set off the flares.” [...]
”We were jostled around pretty good,” said Cramer, who estimated the plane had ascended to about 6,000 feet. ”There were a few minutes there where I wondered: ‘Have we been hit? Are we OK?”’ [...]
”It was kind of dicey,” Shelby said. ”But it just shows you what our troops go through every day.”