Jameel Sayhood

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Jameel Sayhood
Allegiance  Iraq
Service/branch IQAF Symbol.svg Iraqi Air Force
Years of service ? - 1991
Rank Major General
Unit 9 Sq. IrAF
Battles/wars Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm)
Air engagements of the Gulf War

Captain Jameel Sayhood was an Iraqi pilot in the Gulf War who it is claimed managed to attain one of the few aerial victories by the Iraqi Air Force in his MiG-29B, before being shot down by USAF Captain Craig Underhill and Captain Cesar Rodriguez with their F-15Cs mere minutes after his air-air victory.[1][2]

Initial engagement[edit]

Captain Sayhood was flying his MiG-29B in Iraq on the third day of the war in order to root out and shoot-down Coalition aircraft bombing Iraq. It is claimed that RAF pilots Gary Lennox and Adrian Weeks were flying their Panavia Tornado on a bombing mission at Tallil Airfield in Iraq. Sayhood spotted them and promptly brought them down with an R-60 missile from his MiG's arsenal.[3] Weeks and Lennox were killed in the crash of their aircraft, serial ZA467. However this aircraft is recorded as having crashed on 22 January on a mission to Ar Rutbah.[4]

Second engagement[edit]

Sayhood continued his mission defending Iraqi airspace and came across two F-15Cs piloted by Captains Craig Underhill and Cesar Rodriguez. Underhill and Rodriguez were pursuing another pair of MiG-29s when they spotted Sayhood and his wingman. Sayhood and his wingman promptly engaged the two American aircraft and one of the most intense dogfights of the Gulf War ensued. The two MiGs and F-15s flew straight at each other, each attempting to visually identify their aggressors. Underhill faced Sayhood's wingman, while Sayhood himself faced Rodriguez. Underhill fired an AIM-7 at Sayhood's wingman, hitting him head on and killing him instantly. At the same time, Rodriguez sensed a radar lock by Sayhood, throwing him onto the defensive. Rodriguez dove down to the deck in order to confuse Sayhood's radar with ground clutter, hoping to shake the radar lock on his aircraft. After seeing his wingman killed, Sayhood briefly broke off the attack. Rodriguez and Underhill started heading south for a tanker, when Sayhood approached them from the north. Rodriguez and Underhill turned around to face Sayhood. Underhill got a radar lock on Sayhood with an AIM-7, but didn't fire because he wasn't sure if Sayhood was friendly or not. Sayhood sliced into their formation causing a "classic merge". Underhill climbed, keeping his lock on Sayhood, while Rodriguez stayed committed to the merge in order to visually identify the aircraft as hostile. As they passed each other, Rodriguez identified it as Iraqi, and each pilot turned left to engage the other. Sayhood was relying on the MiG's better turning radius to get onto Rodriguez's tail. They slowly spiraled towards the ground until Sayhood attempted to pull out using a split-s. Rodriguez didn't follow, and just before Sayhood could pull out, he crashed into the ground. He managed to eject from his MiG, reportedly with his crash site reportedly being merely a mile from the British jet previously shot down by him.[5][6][7]


It was reported decades later by Iraqi sources that the Captain was rescued by some farmers after he broke his leg upon landing from his ejection and evacuated to a local hospital. Afterwards he was allegedly deemed unfit to fly, and retired from the Iraqi Air Force with a promotion to Major General.[8]


  1. ^ Cooper/Sadik, The First Night. IAPR, Vol. 26.
  2. ^ "Fixed Wing Combat Air Attrition Coalition Aircraft Attrition in Desert Storm". acig.com. 2004. Retrieved 2010-09-11. 
  3. ^ "Combates BVR no Golfo Pérsico". 2004. Retrieved 2010-09-11. [dead link]
  4. ^ "RAF Crash Data" (PDF). tornado-data.com. 2004. Retrieved 2010-09-11. 
  5. ^ Dogfights of Desert Storm, History Channel, 14 September 2008 
  6. ^ http://iraqimilitary.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1304&p=8841
  7. ^ http://www.f-16.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=263048&sid=8b1cfaf0a770a3beef056794f5579dd4#p263048
  8. ^ http://www.f-16.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=263048&sid=8b1cfaf0a770a3beef056794f5579dd4#p263048