Work in Progress
F-4E Phantom II
21st July 1982
Pilot Lt.Col. Abbas Dowran
flew into control tower of
Baghdad IAP - KIA
22nd July 1982
It's 03:00 o'clock. I have to go and must be in Battalion
at 04:00 am. Today I have a difficult mission. know
this is very dangerous. Maybe, maybe I won't survive and
can't return to Iran. But I volunteered for this mission and was the
only one who was ready to do
Yesterday, I went with my sweet son Amir Reza outside and I met Lt. Abbas F., He's also a pilot . I confided in him, "Abbas if something happens to me do me a favour, be the one to tell my wife."
Abbas F. asked me, "Are you scared? You've always told us you hate one world in your life, Fear. What's up with you?
Oh God! Amir Reza's woke up. He's was crying. I went to his room to take him to his Mother, my lovely wife Mahnaz.
Mahnaz looked at me with sleepy eyes and asked me, "Abbas, Will you come back for Lunch?
I replied, "I will" . . . .
But he never came back
From the extracts from Capt.Kazemiyan
memoirs [see below] it is clear to see that Dowran was fully
aware of the dangers of this mission.
Dowran had written in his notes with RED PEN:
"90% certainty that we will never come back!"
After the jet was hit Dowran took the decision not to eject and flew into Baghdad's IAP control tower.
translated from the Farsi by A.K.
20th July 1982: 22:00 o'clock....
I was very tired...Today, we attacked the Iraqi's three times. First time was unsuccessful, but the second and third times we did our job perfectly
At 23:00 I went to the bed
22nd July 1982: 04:30
I woke up...
I was eating and looking to my family...my sister and Mom and Dad
Every day I took the keys of my car with me. I don’t know why, but on that day I decided to put them, along with my wallet and ring on the TV set.
After the beginning of war I was one day off and one day “On Alert!”
During those “on” days I didn't close my eyes for second. We were on “5 minute scramble”
21st July: 10:00 o'clock
Maj. Abbas Dowran called me and asked me to come to common post at 17:00...
I arrived at 16:30. My friend Col. Shoorcheh was there. I asked him: “Where’s our mission?”
“Baghdad. He replied”
“Then we will eat our breakfast in Baghdad. I said”
I told myself, “This is my last mission. Tomorrow I’ll be to Iraqi hands.”
Shoorcheh told me: “Take it easy man. You’ll be with Major Dowran. He knows what to do.”
We talked about that and finally at 17:00 o'clock the other pilots and crews arrived.
At the desk we discussed the mission, the map and how to attack Baghdad.
Major Dowran said: "It's best for us if we fly directly to Baghdad. we will not waste a second..," but other pilots disagreed with the Major.
I couldn't understand why Major Dowran had this idea.
Major Mahmood Eskandari said, “If we fly direct to Baghdad the Radars of the 57mm Guns and SA-Missiles will intercept us and when we will come back they will ready to fire at us!"
Finally we decided go
to Baghdad from south-east, then flying to the Baghdad's Refinery,
and after dropping our Mk-82 bombs, escaping the target area with the use of
afterburners, and returning to our territory.
Shahrokhi's base commander Major M. Khazraii and Major Alireza Yasini (Deputy for ops) decided the mission would begin at 05:00 o'clock
Major Yasini suggested, “I think the best callsign of the operation is “Mansour” my name is Mansour, [and “mansour” in Persian means “winner”]
We were 6 pilots and three F-4Es
Lead: Major Dowran and me.
Number 2: Maj. Eskandari and Bagheri.
Number 3: Tavangariyan and Khosroshahi.
We discussed everything.
When the others went home I remained with Major Dowran.
He told me, "Dear Mansour. If something happens and you want to eject, Please don’t do that for me!"
[Note: It was possible for the rear crew member in the Phantom to eject the front seated pilot. Dowran instructed his RIO to alter the ejection configuration]
Major Dowran knew that in Iraq every pilot and SAM crew had one wish. To shoot down Major Dowran!
Major Abbas Dowran time and again had heard these threats and was adamant that he would not be captured by the Iraqis.
“Mansour, if the jet is hit at any time during the attack and becomes uncontrollable I will fly it into the Hotel Al-Rashid or some other building in Baghdad. I won’t use my parachute”
Kazemiyan recalls, “I knew that Major Dowran was a very brave pilot and he hated one world in his life: Fear."
He had a record in the IRIAF. In 90 days he flew more than 60 missions over Iraq...23 of them over Baghdad
He was always ready for the ops. Never did he object. He was the only pilot who was forever ready to attack Iraqis. He was the bravest pilot in Iran.
Major Dowran could have elected not to fly. He was the Major and could have remained sitting at a desk, an administrator, making decisions for our brave pilots. Instead he chose not to. He always maintained, “I am the man of sky. On the earth I can do nothing.”
22nd July 1982: 04:00
I was driving to Alert and thinking about the Dowran's words, “Don’t eject me, Mansour!”
The ground crew wished us a lucky day.
Major Dowran went to the bombs and missiles and checked them out
I sat in the cockpit and saw that our compass was not working correctly
The mechanics told us: “It is your decision, you can abort the mission.”
Major Dowran response was, "It’s not raining, the weather’s very good and we have perfectly good visibility."
We were the lead jet in Phantom F-4E 3-6570
Major Yassini decided to change the leader. Tavangarian to be Number 2 and we were the reserve.
Number 3......Eskandari became our leader
Major Eskandari took off.
Then Tavangariyan informed the tower, “Rolling.”
He rolled on and on down the runway but because off engine problems could not to take off.
Then we started.
We rolled and accelerated and surprisingly I saw Tavangariyan's aircraft remaining on the right side of Runway
I closed my eyes. Major Dowran became airborne without problem, saying nothing.
Straight after take off he instructed Major Eskandari, “Mahmood, come to your last position in formation.”
He understood Dowran's intentions. Once again we were the lead.
We went to first level, then climbed to 14.000 fit and 600 km/h
30 miles to the border Tavangariyan was forced to turn back to AFB. We continued.
Unexpectedly, over the radio, Major Dowran said, “Mansour, I like you. You are very brave and a man of few words."
Eventually we descended to 50 feet and 950 km/h so that the Iraqi Radar could not intercept us.
I was looking to other F-4E. Suddenly I saw that a missile had been fired at them. I though it's an SA-7 and won't hit them
I informed Eskandari of the situation.
I was right. The missile followed the jet and second later exploded in the air.
3 minutes later I saw in my ECM that Baghdad has intercepted us....
I let Dowran know. He didn't answer me. A few seconds later Lt.Bagheri (Eskandari's RIO) gave us the warning
Dowran said, “We’re flying at the 30 feet altitude, can’t go lower.
Then he joked, "If you want, we can fly under the ground!”
We continued on in the same direction and then we passed the Baghdad-Basrah Road, then we turned to North-east
At 06:09 we were in the Baghdad air space.
Outside was dark, but 15km to the south-east the city of Baghdad was lit up with anti aircraft fire.
Suddenly Dowran told me: “Mansour it's look like that our right engine is burning”
I replied, “Abbas, once we’re out of Baghdad I’ll extinguish it.”
Those were among the last words I spoke to Dowran
We reached the Refinery and dropped our bombs
I looked back to check whether or not we had successfully attacked our target and saw that our jet is burning from Tail to Cockpit
I checked the instruments in the cockpit. Everything was OK but the jet was badly burning.
I made the decision to eject and asked, “Abbas, are you ready? We have to eject”
To this day the events that happened next are still confused in my memory.
I ejected at very low altitude 30 feet and 950 km/h. Even to this day I don’t understand how I survived.
A few days after my capture while in Al-Anbar camp I learned that Dowran had not ejected
and that he had flown our jet to the Hotel Al-Rashid.
A few days later Iraqi “Radio Baghdad” said that he had flown his jet into Baghdad IAP control tower.
The following day In Baghdad, they celebrated the victory, by parading his helmet, one of his hands and his ID-card