Some news out of Iraq? Is everyone sure it wasn't an unhappy Florida Republican that fired that RPG?
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WASHINGTON - A military cargo plane carrying three senators and a House member was forced to take evasive maneuvers and dispatch flares to avoid ground fire after taking off from Baghdad on Thursday night.
The lawmakers said their plane, a C-130, was under fire from three rocket-propelled grenades during the course of several minutes as they left for Amman, Jordan.
"It was a scary moment," said Republican Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida, 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."
Cramer and Martinez said they had just begun to relax about five or 10 minutes after the plane took off under darkness.
Crew members apparently communicated to the pilots as they saw the initial RPG fired from the ground, Cramer said. After the first burst, the pilots maneuvered aggressively and set off flares used for drawing incoming fire away from aircraft.
Once the flares lit up the sky, lawmakers said, two more RPGs were fired as the pilots continued maneuvering.
Martinez said he quickly put back on his body armor.
Capt. Angel Wallace, a spokeswoman for U.S. Central Command, said she was not aware of the incident, and military public-affairs officials in Baghdad could not be reached.