Pablo Carballo

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Pablo Marcos Rafael Carballo
Capitán Pablo Carballo.jpg
Cpt Pablo Carballo depicted in 1983
Allegiance Argentina
Service/branch Argentine Air Force
Years of service 1971-2001
Rank Commodore
Battles/wars Falklands War
Awards Argentine Nation to the Heroic Valour in Combat Cross, the Argentine Congressional Medal, and the Highest Distinction of the Argentine Air Force.
Other work Professor, Escuela de Aviación Militar, Córdoba (currently)

Commodore Pablo Marcos Rafael Carballo (b. 11 December 1947 Buenos Aires) is a retired member of the Argentine Air Force - the Fuerza Aérea Argentina (FAA) - who fought in the 1982 Falklands War ( Spanish: Guerra de las Malvinas ) where he participated in actions that led to the sinking of three Royal Navy ships. He was awarded with the highest national military decoration: the Argentine Nation to the Heroic Valour in Combat Cross, the Argentine Congressional Medal, and the Highest Distinction of the Argentine Air Force.


Ensign Carballo graduated as a pilot in the 37th class of Escuela de Aviación Militar (Military Flying School) of the FAA at Córdoba in 1971. In 1972, he graduated as a fighter pilot in the 4th Air Brigade ( Spanish: IV Brigada Aérea ) at El Plumerillo, Mendoza flying Morane-Saulnier MS-760 Paris and North American F-86 Sabres. He was then assigned as a cadet instructor of the Cordoba Flying School.

In 1979, he was assigned to the 5th Air Brigade ( Spanish: V Brigada Aérea ), Villa Reynolds, San Luis Province to fly A-4B Skyhawks where he was promoted from section leader to brigade chief of operations. He then served on 6th Air Brigade ( Spanish: VI Brigada Aérea ) at Tandil flying Fingers and Mirage III becoming the squadron chief.

Falklands War[edit]

In 1982 Captain Carballo was section leader at 5th Air Brigade flying A-4B Skyhawks. The unit deployed to the southern airfield Puerto Santa Cruz map and airbase Rio Gallegos in Santa Cruz Province when hostilities broke out.

He took part in the following missions: ( showing: approximate local time | Aircraft | Call signal )

  • 1 May 17:30 : C-215 Flight Trueno. In their first ever combat mission four A-4B mistakenly attacked the ELMA cargo ship Formosa near Port Stanley in a friendly fire incident; fortunately without casualties. The ship returned to the mainland carrying a 500 lb unexploded bomb.[1]
  • 21 May 13:00 : C-204 Flight Mula. Two A-4B entered San Carlos Water. "Mula 2" (Pilot Ensign Carmona) attacked an unknown ship, having expended his ordnance, Carballo ordered him to return to base.[2] Carballo continued alone and attacked HMS Ardent straddling her with two bombs, both of which failed to explode.[3]
  • 23 May 13:30 : C-228 Flight Nene. Four A-4B attacked HMS Antelope. Carballo's plane was damaged by a Sea Cat missile while on his bombing run, so he broke off from the attack and returned safely to Rio Gallegos. Two unexploded bombs hit the ship after the attack, one of which detonated while being defused and the ship was lost.
  • 25 May 15:20 : C-225 Flight Vulcano Two A-4B (flying with Lt Carlos Rinke) attacked HMS Broadsword which was providing anti-aircraft missile cover for HMS Coventry which itself was acting as a decoy to draw attacks away. Broadswords Sea Wolf missile system developed a technical fault and could not be fired at the Skyhawks. The bomb bounced off the sea passed through the ship damaging the frigate's communication systems, hydraulics and electrics services [4] and shattering the nose of her Sea Lynx helicopter before exploding without causing further damage.[5] In the same action, another flight ( Zeus flown by 1st Lt Velazco and Ensign Barrionuevo ) sank the destroyer HMS Coventry
  • 27 May 16:58 : Flight Póker Two A-4B (again with Lt Rinke) struck ground targets at Ajax Bay. Each aircraft carrying four 500 lb retarding bombs causing 5 deaths and 26 injuries.[6]
  • 08 Jun : Flights Dogo and Mastín with four A-4B each carrying three 500 lb retarding tail bombs attacked landing ships at Fitzroy. Carballo (and two other pilots) were forced to return to base when near to the target due to mechanical problems. A second wave of eight Grupo 4 A-4C ( Flights Mazo and Yunque ) were later deployed on this mission, with three shot down by Sea Harriers.
  • 12 June: C-221 Flight Paris. Two A-4B, Paris 2 ( Lt Rinke's plane) had a fire on departure and the mission was aborted.


The A-4P Skyhawk (called A-4B by the Argentines) were bought from the US Navy inventory in 1966 and at the time of the war were painted green/brown topsides with light blue undersides heavily faded colours. Yellows identity markings were also added during the conflict.

These aircraft provided outstanding performance and availability even in the harsh operating conditions of the South Atlantic with most of them returning from missions with some form of battle damage and were patched up and pressed back into service within matter of hours. Because of this, pilots used to change airframes between sorties.

In spite of using two 295-gallon drop tanks they needed aerial refueling twice during missions. The ordnance used during the conflict were one British-made 1000 lb Mk 17 bomb or four Spanish-made 500 lb retarding tail Expal-Explosivos Alaveses (named BRP). American 500 lb retarding tail Mark 82 bombs ("Snake Eye") were also available but used infrequently. The aircraft were also armed with two 20 mm cannons but without any air-to-air missile, Radar warning receiver or chaff for self-defence.

Later career[edit]

He later became Chief of the Weapons Test Center ( Spanish: Centro de Ensayos de Armamentos y Sistemas Operativos ) at Cordoba and passed a Master on Strategy at the USAF Air War College, before becoming Director of INAC (Spanish: Instituto Nacional de Aviación Civil), the Argentine civil aviation school

He retired from the Air Force on April 2, 2001 as a Comodoro (USAF equivalent: Colonel and RAF equivalent: Group Captain )

As of 2006, he was professor of the Flying School at Cordoba

See also[edit]




External links[edit]