Saturday, November 29, 2008

Pilot surpasses 3,000 hours in A-10 Thunderbolt

by Staff Sgt. Rachel Martinez
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

11/29/2008 - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan -- The list of single-seat fighter pilots who have flown 3,000 hours in one particular aircraft is short. On Nov. 21, a new name was added to that list when Lt. Col. David Dressel, flew his 3,000th hour in an A-10 Thunderbolt II while flying a close air support mission over Afghanistan.

Colonel Dressel, a native of Watertown, Minn., began flying in 1991. The A-10 was his number one choice coming out of pilot training.

"When I was a senior in high school I was placed in a Minnesota mentor program where you go to school half time and work with an industry half time," he said. "I was interested in aviation and was placed with a company that designed bullets for the military. I was put on a design team that built 30 mm shells for the A-10. I said this is awesome. The only plane that carried the 30 mm cannon was the A-10 - that's what lead me down that road."

From his first sortie in the A-10 at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., 18 years ago, to flying combat sorties in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Colonel Dressel has come a long way.

"You remember where you were when you hit 1,000, and when you hit 2,000 hours," he said. "To hit 3,000 hours in a combat sortie was really special."

Colonel Dressel, deployed with the 75th Fighter Squadron from Moody Air Force Base, Ga., is no stranger to combat. He has deployed in support of Operations Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. He said there is no other place he would rather be than deployed.

"Our job is to support the guys on the ground," he said. "Unlike other aircraft, that's our main focus - providing close air support to guys on the ground, slugging it out day after day, 24/7.

"Back home you rate your success on how well you performed," he continued. "Here, you rate your success on how well the ground guys do. Our success comes down to whether or not the ground commander was able to accomplish his mission."

Despite his accomplishments, this veteran pilot tips his hat to the new pilots he works with.

"It was seven years before I shot in combat," he said. "When I came in, we were a nation at peace, now we are in a conflict. Anyone who signed up after 9/11 knew they were going to deploy and see combat. My hat's off to them."

Next for Colonel Dressel is passing 500 combat hours in the A-10 - something he is on track to accomplish during this deployment.


Lt. Col. David Dressel, a pilot with the 75th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, powers down A-10C 79-0192 from the 74th Fighter Squadron after flying his 3,000th hour in the aircraft on November 21, 2008, at Bagram AB, Afghanistan. Colonel Dressel, deployed from Moody AFB, Georgia, is among a handful of active-duty pilots to reach this milestone. (Courtesy photo) Hi-res

Lt. Col. David Dressel poses in front of an A-10 Thunderbolt II at Bagram AB, Afghanistan. Colonel Dressel, a native of Watertown, Minnesota, has flown more than 3,000 hours in the A-10 and is on track to reach 500 combat hours during his current deployment. (Courtesy photo) Hi-res

Related news:
47FS pilots make history (June 2008)
104th Fighter Wing pilots break records! (March 2007)
Deployed A-10 Pilot Reaches 3,000-Hour Mark (July 29, 2005)

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