In May 2015, Sirte, Libya, still recovering from the fallout of civil war, fell to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria forces. It took a year until the United Nations backed government of Libya, the Government of National Accord, launched an offensive to retake the city. On August 1, 2016, the Pentagon announced Operation Odyssey Lightning in which United States military forces would join the GNA against ISIS.
While U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier jets and AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters struck ISIS territory in the limelight, remotely piloted aircraft aircrews provided dominant persistent attack and reconnaissance from imperceptible altitudes over Libya quietly from their cockpits in the U.S. In fact, the crews were overhead Sirte gathering information before the operation even began.