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The ‘Forgotten’ US Shootdown of Iranian Airliner Flight 655­

While this was an event that happened over 30 years ago it is well worth remembering, especially at times like this.

Iran Air flight 655, flight of an Iranian airliner that was shot down by the missile cruiser USS Vincenneson July 3, 1988, over the Strait of Hormuz, killing all 290 people on board.

The following is details are taken from britannica.com:

Iran Air flight 655, flight of an Iranian airliner that was shot down by the missile cruiser USS Vincenneson July 3, 1988, over the Strait of Hormuz, killing all 290 people on board. The passenger plane, which was in Iranian airspace, had been incorrectly identified as a fighter jet.

In July 1988 Iran and Iraq were in the midst of a war that included attacks on each other’s oil tankers in the Persian Gulf. The United States was among several countries that had warships in the area to safeguard the transport of oil. Various incidents, notably an attack on the USS Stark involving Iraq missiles in May 1987, had resulted in a revision to the U.S. rules of engagement, allowing U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf to undertake more protective measures.On July 3, 1988, the USS Vincennes, under the command of Capt. William C. Rogers III, was involved in several skirmishes with Iranian vessels. According to various reports, Rogers, who had a reputation for aggressiveness, ignored orders to change course and instead continued to pursue the enemy gunboats.

Against this background, the Iranian airliner, an Airbus A300, departed from Bandar-e ʿAbbās, Iran, at approximately 10:47 AM, headed to DubaiUnited Arab Emirates. Crewmen aboard the Vincennesimmediately began tracking Iran Air flight 655, which had taken off from an airport used by both military and commercial aircraft. For the next several minutes, there was confusion aboard the U.S cruiser over the identity of the aircraft, which was eventually determined to be a much smaller F-14 fighter jet. After several warning calls went unheeded, the Vincennes fired two surface-to-air missiles at 10:54 AM, destroying the plane and killing all those on board.

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