Saturday, July 31, 2010

Air support could come from unmanned A-10s

By Scott Fontaine - Staff writer
Air Force Times
Posted: Saturday Jul 31, 2010 12:22:30 EDT

An unmanned A-10 overhead and a joint terminal attack controller on the ground with the firing controls in his hands.

It's not possible now, but it will be in the next few years, theoretically cutting response time dramatically and reducing errors in close-air support strikes.

The Pentagon's advanced research arm wants an aircraft 30 miles from a firefight to be able to attack within six minutes of a request by a JTAC. The airman would access the plane's targeting sensors, enter coordinates to multiple targets and send ammo flying.

Officials with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency expect to award a contract for the venture later this year; a live-fire demonstration is proposed for the last quarter of fiscal 2014. The contractor will modify an A-10 already in the fleet.

The new take on strikes, called persistent close-air support, won't mean the end of fighter pilots, project manager Stephen Waller, a former F-15 and F-16 pilot, assured defense contractors and military personnel at a Washington-area conference in late July.

"I'm not trying to unman the fighter fleet," he said. "I'm not trying to rip the pilots out of the cockpit."

Close-air support strikes now, though, have problems, Waller said: Ground control can be cumbersome, coordinates are transmitted by voice and can be misinterpreted, manned crews have limited air time, current drones have smaller weapons arsenals and can usually handle only one target at a time, and the response time can be 30 minutes to an hour.

"If the guy can sit in a foxhole with an M16 and pull a trigger, why can't he do that with an airborne asset?" said Dave Neyland, director of DARPA's Tactical Technology Office.

Though persistent support is still being developed, here's how DARPA envisions it would work:

The A-10 could be manned or unmanned; an unmanned plane would loiter autonomously but would be under the control of an A-10 pilot at a ground control station when responding to an attack and for all takeoffs and landings.

The pilot would give "coordinated consent" for the launch of weapons; the JTAC would fire the weapons using a portable computer. With the computer, the JTAC would access the A-10's sensors, punch in coordinates for its targeting pods and determine the predicted blast radius and effectiveness of the weapons.

An A-10 typically carries a seven-barreled, 30mm Gatling gun and up to 16,000 pounds of bombs. The MQ-1 Predator carries two Hellfire missiles, and the unmanned MQ-9 Reaper carries about as many bombs as an A-10 but doesn't have a machine gun — a valuable weapon in close-quarters combat.

The Thunderbolt II also is faster than the Predator and Reaper. The A-10 tops out at 420 mph. The Predator cruises at 84 mph and can fly up to 135 mph, and the Reaper cruises at about 230 mph.


Friday, July 30, 2010

In Memoriam: Marina Naumann - Rest in Peace

By Joachim Jacob

Especially to all of my friends who are supporting Warthog News: The remains of Marina were buried today on an anonyme Buddhistic urnfield at Ruhleben Cemetery, Berlin, Germany.

General arrangement. (Photo by Dirk Jacob)

Some private artefacts, draped by me. (Photo by Dirk Jacob)

On the grave: Just one more cigarette for Marina. Only minutes after taking this picture, and after another howling attack by me, I returned back to the grave and smoked another cigarette for with my loved-one. (Photo by Dirk Jacob)

On the grave: Marinas cigarette is burned out. By the way: The wild white roses at right are from me. (Photo by Dirk Jacob)

Note: Marina was a great fan of Mike & The Mechanics. And here's her most favourite song:

Note: This post will be further updated.

Video: Battlefield Airmen ad - Sneak Peak

Released by 124th Wing Public Affairs:

Behind the scenes of an upcoming Air Guard ad to be broadcast nationwide.

Watch the video

Video: Idaho Air National Guard - A Brief History

Now on the 124th Fighter Wing Channel, released by 124th Fighter Wing Public Affairs:

A history of Gowen Field from WWII to the inception of the Idaho Air National Guard to today's operations around the world.

Watch the video

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Last two A-10s depart Willow Grove - More pictures released by Warthog News contributor Brian Walter

Just let us remember their legendary PA tailcode. Pictured are A-10s 78-0658 and 80-0214. (Photo by Brian Walter) Full size

Rare shot: An A-10 pilot's helmet on the top of the front instrument panel. (Photo by Brian Walter)Full size

For some more additional pictures, also taken by Brian, please check out his latest update 7.23.10 - Final Two A-10s Depart He wrote: The last two A-10s left Willow Grove, leaving the 111th Fighter Wing without a flying aircraft on their ramp for the first time in 86 years. Many people came out to watch the jets depart on their way to Ft. Wayne to drop off the tanks and some other materials. Words simply couldn't express the feeling that morning. It was sadly the end of an era.

Special thanks to Brian for his outstanding work, documenting the 103th Fighter Squadron's A-10 chapter. For a huge lot of exclusive pictures, please visit Brian's 111th Fighter Wing tribute website, called PHILLY HOGS - A-10's of the 111th Fighter Wing:

In Memoriam: Marina Naumann (Part Two)

My loved-one just again. Best known shot of Marina, taken 1990. She was a pretty woman... Just look in their blue eyes...

By Joachim Jacob

Especially to all of my friends who are supporting Warthog News: The remains of Marina will be buried now on an anonyme Buddhistic urnfield at Ruhleben Cemetery, Berlin, Germany, Friday, June 30, 2010. For the funeral, two days ago I selected the following individual music (Dropping off all standard organ music):


Mike + The Mechanics - All I Need Is A Miracle '96 (Promo Clip 1996). BTW: As I meet Marina for first time 13 years ago, this CD was one of her favorites.

Burial speech transcript, provided by me to the speaker (in German language only)

Wir trauern heute um Marina Naumann aus Berlin. Sie starb am 17. Juni an den Folgen einer unheilbaren Krebserkrankung. Die Ärzte hatten ihr bestenfalls noch ein paar Wochen bis zwei, drei Monate gegeben. Wohl keiner hätte geglaubt, dass daraus ein halbes Jahr werden sollte – zwar mit sich abwechselnden Höhen und Tiefen, aber immerhin noch ein bisschen länger in dieser unserer Welt.

Marina, die am 29. April noch ihren 58. Geburtstag erleben durfte, schien sich erstaunlich gefasst in ihr Schicksal zu fügen. Nur selten klagte sie über Ängste, Albträume, ihre plötzliche Hilflosigkeit und das Warten auf den Tod.

Niemand wird je erfahren, was während dieser schweren Zeit wirklich in ihrem Kopf vorging, was sie innerlich durchmachen musste.

Zeitlebens war Marina eine starke, selbstbewusste und äußerst attraktive Frau. Ihren Job machte sie perfekt, sowohl als Arztsekretärin in verschiedenen Praxen wie auch zuletzt als medizinische Schreibkraft am PC-Heimarbeitsplatz.

Selbst in den letzten Monaten ihres Daseins war Marina unglaublich tapfer und voller Lebensmut. Sie lachte oft, machte Späßchen, zeigte aber auch Galgenhumor.

Als ein dem Tod geweihter Tumor-Patient erwies sie sich immer wieder als Stehaufmännchen, über das zudem ein besonders guter Schutzengel gewacht haben muss.

Marinas lang gehegter Wunsch, einen treuen Hund als vierbeinigen Freund zu haben, ging zwar nicht mehr in Erfüllung. Dafür aber ihr letzter Wille: Zu Hause in vertrauter Umgebung weiterleben zu können und dort auch zu sterben – nicht aber in einem Hospiz.

Ermöglicht haben ihr das fürsorgliche Menschen. Vor allem der ehemalige Lebensgefährte und sie immer noch liebende einzige Freund, Joachim Jacob. In ungezählten Stunden war er nahezu täglich als private Pflegeperson und engster Vertrauter für sie da – stets darauf aus, ihr so viel wie möglich an Lebensqualität zu bieten. Dazu zählten erlebnisreiche Rollstuhlausflüge wie in den Zoo und in den Tierpark, aber auch das Zubereiten gemeinsamer Mahlzeiten oder einfach nur das Zusammensein, um einander zuzuhören und miteinander zu reden.

Einfühlsam und engagiert waren auch die sympathische Home Care Ärztin Frau Dr. Sybille Radtke sowie das Personal des ambulanten palliativen Pflegedienstes der Sozialstation Friedenau.

In Marinas persönlichem Nachlass fand sich eine handschriftliche Notiz mit folgendem Wortlaut: "Die Lehren des Buddhismus anzuwenden bedeutet, einen Kampf zwischen den negativen und positiven Kräften im eigenen Geist zu führen."

Diesen Kampf muss sie bis zuletzt geführt haben.


The Rose - final song of the movie sound track "The Rose", featuring Bette Middler.

This song was wrote by Amanda McBroom.

On her website, Amanda wrote:


People often ask me what inspired me to write The Rose. Here is the story:

I was driving down the freeway one afternoon, some time in 1977-something.

I was listening to the radio. A song came on the radio. It was "MAGDALENA" by Danny O'Keefe, sung by Leo Sayer. I liked it immediately. My favorite line was "Your love is like a razor. My heart is just a scar."I thought,"Ooh, I love that lyric."

As I continued to drive down the road the thought came, I don't agree with the sentiment. I don't think love is like a razor. (I was younger then.) What, then, do I think love is? Suddenly, it was as if someone had opened a window in the top of my head. Words came pouring in. I had to keep reciting them to myself as I drove faster and faster towards home, so I wouldn't forget them. I screeched into my drive way, ran into the house, past various bewildered dogs and cats and husbands, and sat down at the piano. Ten minutes later, THE ROSE was there.

I called my husband, George, into the room and played it for him, as I always did with my new songs. He listened, and quietly said to me, "You've just written a standard." I protested that no one but my pals would ever hear it. (This is long before I had ever recorded anything.) He said,"Mark my words, something is going to happen with this song."

A year or so later, a great young songwriter named Michele Brourman, who became my primary musical collaborator and best friend, said "Listen. There is this movie coming out called "The Rose". They are looking for a title tune. Do you want me to submit this to them?" I had never really tried to submit this song to anyone. I didn't consider myself a song writer at the time. So I said, "Sure." Originally the film had been called THE PEARL, which was Janis Joplin's nick name. But her family refused permission to use that name. Lucky for me. "Pearl" is MUCH harder to rhyme.

She submitted the tune to the producers, who HATED it. They thought it was dull and a hymn and NOT rock and roll and totally wrong. They put it in the reject box. But the divine Paul Rothchild, who was the music supervisor on the film, and had been Janis Joplin's producer, hauled it out and asked them to reconsider. They again said no. So he mailed it to Bette. She liked it, and that's how it got into the film and changed my life forever.

I have never written another song as quickly. I like to think I was the window that happened to be open when those thoughts needed to come through. I am eternally grateful... to Bette... to Paul Rothchild... to Bill Kerby, who wrote the my friend who first submitted it for me... and to the Universe for speaking to me in the first place and for showing me what I truly believe.

*Here are the lyrics:

Some say love, it is a river
That drowns the tender reed
Some say love, it is a razor
That leaves your soul to bleed
Some say love, it is a hunger
An endless aching need
I say love, it is a flower
And you, its only seed

It's the heart, afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance
It's the dream, afraid of waking
That never takes the chance
It's the one who won't be taken
Who cannot seem to give
And the soul, afraid of dying
That never learns to live

When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been too long
And you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong
Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snow
Lies the seed
That with the sun's love, in the spring
Becomes the rose

* To obtain permission for reprinting any of the lyrics to THE ROSE or for their use in any publications or recordings, Contact Warner Chappell at


Best song to say farewell to Marina.

See also:
In Memoriam: Marina Naumann

BTW: So I hope, this burial will be very good. But there are tears on my eyes still everyday.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

355th Operations Support Squadron changes command

Released by 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs:

Lt. Col. Andra Kniep (right) receives the 355th Operations Support Squadron guidon from Col. Edward A. Kostelnik Jr., 355th Operations Group commander, during a change-of-command ceremony here July 16, 2010. Prior to assuming command of the 355th OSS, Colonel Kniep was director of operations for the 357th Fighter Squadron here at Davis-Monthan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jerilyn Quintanilla) Hi-res

Note: A picture of Osama Bin-Laden as part of the A-10's ladder door art. Anybody who can identify this aircraft by serial number?

Monday, July 26, 2010

442nd Fighter Wing Tip of the Spear

Senior Airman Tracy Brown
442nd Fighter Wing

Senior Airman Tracy Brown, former A-10 Thunderbolt II weapons loader, is a recent cross-trainee into the 442nd Public Affairs office. Airman Brown worked mandays in public affairs, manning the shop single-handedly for two months while the chief of PA was deployed and the deputy chief of PA was on maternity leave.

Although she had not had the official technical training for the position yet, she eagerly learned how to run the office on a daily basis. She worked closely with the 509th Bomb Wing, acting as a liaison for the 442nd FW and worked to incorporate the wings through total force integration. Throughout the two months Airman Brown coordinated A-10 flyover requests, static displays, aircraft complaints and media inquiries on a daily basis and handled them with the utmost professionalism. She represented the PA office and the 442nd FW at wing staff meetings, basewide PA meetings and the Base Community Council. She not only manned the shop alone during that time, but continued to work with the 509th Public Affairs office to learn her job as a public affairs broadcaster and prepare for her upcoming technical training. After her two months in the public affairs office, she continued to volunteer for mandays to support the operational readiness inspection. Throughout that time, she searched for opportunities to deploy and support the 442nd FW mission.

Her eagerness to deploy, dedication to her military service and professionalism make her this month’s Tip of the Spear.


442nd civilian retires after 27 years of service

By Senior Airman Danielle Wolf
442nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

This month the 303rd Fighter Squadron will lose one of its most valued civilian employees to retirement – Kathi Welch of flight management.

For the last 27 years Ms. Welch has provided the 442nd Fighter Wing with records management and daily flying tasks that keep the jets in the air.

"She runs all of the records for the pilots and keeps us flying legally," said Lt. Col. Brian Borgen, 303rd FS commander. "The 442nd has a lot of people with important jobs, but if we don't get the jets off the ground, we haven't fulfilled out mission; she makes it possible to get the jets in the air."

Ms. Welch has also seen numerous changes throughout the wing.

"Kathi has been a member of the 303rd FS since it converted from C-130s to A-10s in October 1982," said Chief Master Sgt. Carol Tripp, 303rd FS chief of aviation resources management.

Chief Tripp, who met Ms. Welch in 1989 said the 303rd is filled with "dedicated, driven and passionate professionals."

"She is such an integral part of the daily flying operation," she said. "It is difficult to imagine life without her come September."

Not only do the Airmen and civilian employees of the 303rd FS know Ms. Welch well for her hard work and dedication, but others throughout Air Force Reserve Command look to her for guidance, Colonel Borgen said.

"When other units have questions, they ask her," he said. "They petition her opinion because she is a meticulous individual who represents the 442nd extremely well."

Ms. Welch is responsible for obtaining and displaying takeoff and landing data, weather and current airfield conditions. She also schedules airspace and coordinates range scheduling.

"When I got to the unit in 2000, Kathi was already an iconic figure within the unit," said Lt. Col. Stephen Chappel, 303FS director of operations. "Once I was able to decipher that heavy Jersey accent, I realized she was a good source for answering many broad questions that I had with regards to squadron practices. Most pilots have leaned on her job skills to keep their flying schedule and flight pay straight. As a brand new pilot and subsequent scheduler, I greatly depended on Ms. Welch to assist me with my scheduling tasks – especially at a time that our full-time pilot force was less than 50 percent manned."

Working with fewer full-timers is something Ms. Welch knows all about by now.

"(Kathi) has 'manned the fort' during countless squadron deployments and always cheerfully accepted the additional workload demands in our absence," Chief Tripp said.

The chief is not the only one who has noticed Ms. Welch's cheerful dedication to the 442nd FW.

"We have pilots coming (to celebrate her retirement Aug. 6) from New York, Virginia, Indiana, Texas and Nevada to include a former wing commander, several vice wing, group and squadron commanders," Chief Tripp said. "There isn't a pilot in this wing's A-10 history who hasn't been personally supported by Kathi Welch, and I'd venture to say every last one of them consider her a friend."

For Colonel Borgen, Ms. Welch's retirement signifies the end of an era – but certainly not the end of a friendship.

"I will miss her because she really makes me laugh," the colonel said. "She answers the phone and I start laughing. I talk to her every morning; she will be sorely missed."

Chief Tripp agreed.

"She has had a significant and positive impact on the flying operation of this squadron for 28 years," Chief Tripp said. "She will be missed more than I can adequately express in words."

Colonel Chappel said he hopes to see her retire in a warm climate, void of snow and to enjoy her much-deserved time off.

Kathi Welch (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Danielle Wolf)


Viewpoint: Beyond the ORI

After nearly two years of exercises and inspections, Airmen can finally look ahead

By Col. John Hoff
442nd Fighter Wing vice commander

How would you sum up the last nine months in one word? My word choice…. ADVERSITY (ad•ver•si•ty) – an extremely unfavorable experience, hardship or suffering.

We all experience adversity in our family, personal and work lives. From adversity comes strength, depth of character and confidence. I witnessed those qualities in every member of the 442nd Fighter Wing during the operational readiness inspection phase II retake. Your hard work, dedication and commitment to duty are overwhelming and again proved the 442nd FW can fly-fight and win. To say "Thank you", the human resources development council is sponsoring two events during the August and September unit training assemblies.

The Wright Flight golf tournament in August is a charity and social event. Money collected from donations and the entrance fee will directly impact our disadvantaged and at-risk youths in the local community. Many 442nd FW alumni will return to participate in the tournament. The fee is $40 per person, which includes food, drinks and a small donation.

The family day barbecue is the yearly get together for all wing members and their families. The Fishnet Securities barbecue team will cater this event with ribs, chicken, and brisket. This year's coordinator, Capt. Keith Yersak, 442nd FW executive officer, has planned many activities. These include a chip-overthe-pond contest and longest drive competitions, a car show, a volleyball tournament, kid's games and paddle boats. I hope to see many of you at the picnic and to meet your families.

Starting in late August, the aviation package will deploy three times to practice new combat skills and exercise the capabilities of our A-10C Warthogs. Six aircraft, 15 pilots and 45 maintenance personnel will deploy to Hill Air Force Base, Utah, from Aug. 27 to Sept. 2. For the first time, unit maintainers will build and load and pilots will employ live GBU-38 500-pound GPS-guided bombs. Pilots will also drop laser-guided bombs and cluster munitions.

The 303rd Fighter Squadron will deploy all its pilots and six A-10s to Key West, Fla. in November for water survival and air combat training. A small maintenance package will accompany the 303rd FS.

In late January, the aviation package will participate in Red Flag at Nellis AFB, Nev. This large-force exercise demonstrates our ability to integrate in multi-ship high- and low-threat environments. Red Flag is a "right of passage" for every fighter pilot.

The next six months are challenging and the operations tempo is high. Extra vigilance toward safety and operational risk management is warranted.

Following Red Flag, a new inspection cycle begins. Lt. Col. Steve "Chappie" Chappel, 442nd Operations Support Flight commander, will prepare the wing for our Air Combat Command operational readiness phase I inspection. The aviation package will demonstrate the wing's ability to generate, deploy and regenerate. The ACC team will evaluate all aspects of "getting out of town" to include mobility bags, personal readiness folders, and pallet buildup. Colonel Chappel will publish a detailed training schedule for the August inspection.

I am proud to be a member of the 442nd FW. I am ready for the next year and look forward to the challenges ahead.

Screen shot from the PDF file: Col. John Hoff, 442nd Fighter Wing vice commander, in the cockpit of an unidentified A-10. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Danielle Wolf)


Birds of a feather train together

by Airman 1st Class Nicholas Benroth
23rd Wing Public Affairs

7/26/2010 - MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Air Force aircraft engine mechanics fall into a single career field, but they are limited to repairing the one type of engine they originally trained on.

Now with the opening of Moody's new engine repair facility, the mechanics here will have the opportunity to work on different engines, a change which was implemented in May 2009. The facility will repair the engines of the A-10C Thunderbolt II, HC-130 P/N and the HH-60G Pave Hawk aircraft, therefore merging the work of these mechanics.

"The new engine facility gives us a chance to merge the repair of these three engines into one building," said Senior Master Sgt. David Smith, 23rd Component Maintenance Squadron propulsion flight chief. "We are able to train mechanics from the same career field and allow them to become comfortable with the other engines we have on base."

Before the new policy, any Airman who was trained to work on a specific engine would be committed to it their entire career.

"The change allows someone that has worked on an A-10 engine to be able to switch and work on a C-130 or HH-60 engine if manning is low," said Tech. Sgt. Charles Carpentier, 23rd CMS combat search and rescue section chief. "Having shops separated kept mechanics from being able to learn about a different engine, but with all of them being locating in one building helps the learning process."

Sergeant Carpentier will soon provide training for all mechanics that are switching to the different engines to teach them how to troubleshoot problems they run into.

"The training we give these Airmen helps them learn the 'ins and outs' of the other engines," said Sergeant Carpentier. "When switching to a different engine, our Airmen need to be able to troubleshoot a problem without having to disassemble the entire engine."

"It's done by actually going out to an engine and doing hands-on training," he added.

With the facility just opening, the training will slowly start to increase once the switch from the old shops to the new engine facility is complete. This training signals the start of a new beginning for the mechanics of the 23rd CMS.

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Two TF-34 engines from an A-10C Thunderbolt II wait to be repaired as members from the 23rd Component Maintenance Squadron work on an engine from an HC-130P/N Combat King here July 22, 2010. Since the opening of a new repair facility, engines from the A-10C, HC-130P/N and HH-60G Pave Hawk aircraft are maintained together in one building. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Benjamin Wiseman) Hi-res


Sunday, July 25, 2010

111th Fighter Wing history

After the very last two A-10s left Willow Grove July 23, 2010, it's time to write some more for the history books.

Four bolts OVER NEW JERSEY -- Four A-10 Thunderbolt IIs fly in formation during a refueling mission here recently. The A-10s are assigned to the 111th Fighter Wing at Willow Grove Air Reserve Station, Pa. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kenn Mann) Hi-res

Note:Visible from front are: 80-0152, 79-0170 (with AN/AAQ-28 LITENING AT targeting pod and different tail code markings), 79-0219, 81-0949. Looks to me like photographed May 25, 2005.

At first, let me post the current official fact sheet:

The Early Years
The 111th Fighter Wing history begins with the establishment of the 103rd Observation Squadron in June 1924. The 103rd was founded and eventually commanded by Major Charles Biddle, who had flown in World War I as part of the famous Lafayette Escadrilles (a volunteer group of American pilots flying French aircraft before our country's entry into WWI). This new National Guard squadron was based on the sod fields of Philadelphia Airport as a unit in the Army 28th Division. The 103rd has operated continually since its federal recognition in 1924, evolving over the years to become the 103rd Fighter Squadron; which is the current flying element of the 111th Fighter Wing.

JN-4 Jenny
The pilots of the 103rd flew a wide variety of observation aircraft for the next 18 years. The most well-known of these aircraft was the JN-4 Jenny. The Jenny was an open-cockpit bi-plane; but was replaced in the '30s and early '40s with metal-skinned, prop-driven observation monoplanes. The list is long but shows the steady improvement in aircraft: PT-1, BT-1, O-1, O-2H, O-11, O-38, O-46,-47A, O-47B, O-49, O-52, O-57 and P434-1. The squadron also flew liaison type aircraft such as the L-4 and L-1B.

The 1940s
In February 1941, as the war in Europe raged, the unit was ordered to active service, performing antisubmarine patrols off the coast of New England. In 1943, the 103rd finally moved into the latest combat aircraft. First, the pilots and maintenance personnel were given steady upgrades in equipment beginning with the P-39 Aeracobras, P-40 Warhawks, and then the B-25 Mitchell. Eventually this culminated in training on the P-38 Lightning, or to be more specific, the photo-reconnaissance version called the F-5C. The twin-engine F-5C had all the [P-38] guns replaced by cameras.

After a year's worth of training, the 103rd ended up in the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater of war in 1944 where it operated out of various fields in India and Burma. It was heavily involved in photo reconnaissance activities over Burma, supporting the US Army forces fighting the Japanese in the jungles there. The 103rd personnel stayed in that theater until the end of the war.

The 111th Fighter Wing lineage comes from the 391st Bomb Group (Medium) which was constituted in 1943, with four flying squadrons. It first trained at Mac Dill Field, FL, in the Martin B-26 Marauder, a twin-engine bomber. A year later, they were flying ground attack mission all over Western Europe. The wing initially started operations from England, bombing targets such as airfields, marshalling yards, and bridges in France and the Low Countries to help prepare for the invasion of Normandy. It attacked enemy defenses along the beaches before that invasion. The wing moved to France and Belgium in fall of 1944, extending its area of operations into Germany and contributing vital assistance to ground forces during the Battle of the Bulge. Very late in the war the pilots transitioned to the A-26 Invader aircraft, for combat missions against German railroads, highways, bridges and armor vehicles. For its actions in WW II, the wing was decorated with the Distinguished Unit Citation.

In 1946, the 391st was redesignated the 111th Bombardment Group (Light) and returned back to the Pennsylvania National Guard. That same year, the 103rd Bomb Squadron (Light) was absorbed into its current parent unit. For the rest of the decade the unit flew the B-26 light bomber in its' new mission of Air Defense and Tactical Ground Support.

The 1950s
The Air National Guard (ANG) was reorganized in 1950 and the wing was redesignated as the 111th Composite Wing, as the war in Korea progressed. Training intensified and the wing was activated in April, 1951. Interestingly, many of the pilots and maintenance personnel were split off from their parent squadrons and sent for duty overseas as individuals assigned to other combat units there. Some saw action in the B-26 in Korea. Late in 1951, the 111th was assigned to the Strategic Air Command, obtained an upgrade from the B-26 to the heavier, four-engine, B-29 Superfortress, and was relocated to Fairchild AFB, WA. Other 111th personnel transitioned to the reconnaissance version called the RB-29. These RB-29s were used like the spy satellites of today, except they required actual over flight of the [communist] countries to be photographed.

Late in the Korean conflict, one of the most fascinating incidents in the 111th Fighter Wing's long history occurred. On June 13, 1952, two 111th pilots were flying an RB-29 over the Soviet Union [communist Russia] when they were shot down by a pair of MIG-15s. The RB-29 was never recovered, having crashed in the waters off of Vladivosostok, Russia. The Pennsylvanian families of the Air Guard pilots were told they had simply "vanished" in a weather-reconnaissance flight near Japan. It wasn't until the fall of the Soviet Union and the opening of communist archives that the relatives found out the truth in 1993. It is unknown as to whether any of the pilots or crew of this aircraft were captured by the Soviets at that time.

In 1952, the unit was removed from active duty status and personnel were returned to the Air National Guard to be part of the redesignated 111th Fighter Bomber Group. This time, the unit was given one of the best performing aircraft of WWII, the F-51 Mustang.

The 1960s-1970s
The new decade brought some big changes to the 111th. In 1962, the unit made the 'large' transition from the F-89J to the lumbering heavy transport, the Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter, a double-decked, four-engine airplane. One year later, the 111th ended its' 39-year history at Philadelphia airport and moved to brand new facilities on the north end of the Willow Grove Naval Air Station. The new mission moved the wing into the Military Air Transport Service (MATS); the C-97 was used to transport troops and cargo all over the world. The unit's flying personnel were used heavily during the Vietnam War and over two hundred members earned Vietnam Service medals for their flights into that war zone.

In 1969, the unit changed mission yet again - returning to its original roots as an observation unit. The new 111th Tactical Air Support Group initially flew the U-3A Blue Canoe, a Cessna-310, as an intermediate aircraft until it received the aircraft it needed for Airborne Forward Air Control (AFAC): the O-2 Skymaster. The O-2 was a two propeller aircraft used early in the Vietnam War for coordination between ground forces and fighter aircraft (the "O" stands for observation).

The 1980s-1990s
The Forward Air Control mission was sustained with the unit's switch to the OA-37 Dragonfly in 1981. The OA-37, was a heavier derivative of the T-37 trainer, and had been developed specifically for the Vietnam conflict. The unit made several deployments to Central America in the 1980s to fly with our allies there, who had the same aircraft.

The 111th finally received a current line aircraft with the transition to the OA-10A Thunderbolt II (although usually called the Warthog) in 1988.

Pilots continued their previous mission of providing AFAC and Combat Search and Rescue, although in a much more combat-worthy fighter. The unit was redesignated as the 111th Fighter Group in 1992 and then as the 111th Fighter Wing in 1995. The A-10 allowed the wing to take part in the new deployments to Southwest Asia following Desert Storm.

Operation Southern Watch
The wing took advantage of this aircraft upgrade by volunteering for a 90-day deployment to Kuwait in 1995, to support joint combat flight operations for Operation Southern Watch over Iraq. Twelve aircraft were deployed to Al Jaber AB - a joint-use base by U.S. and Kuwait Air Forces. The base was fairly austere as it had suffered considerable war-damage from Desert Storm I. Missions included Combat Search and Rescue alert, Kill Box flights over Iraq, Airborne Forward Air Control and joint training missions over Kuwait. This is considered the best of the wing's deployments to Kuwait, because our personnel were free to see the country and meet its people.

September 1996 cover of National Guard magazine featuring 111th Fighter Wing aircraft in flight over Al Jaber, Kuwait.
About 40% of the wing participated in the deployment; another interesting element was a small side deployment to Qatar. The 111th was the first Air Guard fighter unit deployed to Al Jaber and also the first ANG Wing to volunteer for a solo 3-month Operation Southern Watch deployment. The combat flight missions over Iraq were to enforce United Nations resolutions and occurred in the decade between Desert Storm I and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The 111th Fighter Wing's first deployment to Al Jaber, Kuwait, was the subject of the cover story of National Guard Magazine in September 1996. The wing was given the honor of this cover story because it had volunteered for a large-scale deployment to an austere base to support flight operations over Iraq in the pre-AEF era.

In 1996, the 111th FW pilots transitioned from the OA-10 AFAC mission to the universal A-10 "attack" mission. Now our pilots primarily task was to provide Close Air Support (CAS) of our joint service ground forces, as well as performing AFAC and CSAR duties as before. This change to the normal A-10 role aligned us with all the other A-10 units in the active duty and Air Reserve Component (ARC).

The second 111th FW deployment to Al Jaber occurred in 1999, again to support joint combat flight operations for Operation Southern Watch over Iraq. Missions included Combat Search and Rescue alert, Kill Box flights over Iraq, Airborne Forward Air Control and joint training missions over Kuwait. Use of the A-10 was more limited than before, due to the aircraft's relative lack of a precision weapon capability [except the AGM-65 Maverick missile]. Interestingly, this deployment spurred the ANG A-10 Wing Commanders at a conference in 2000, to search for ways to improve the precision performance of this venerable aircraft (which resulted in Targeting Pod integration in 2003).


Operation Enduring Freedom
Immediately following the 9/11 attacks on NYC and Washington, DC, the 111th FW voluntarily deployed on very short notice back to Al Jaber to support joint combat flight operations for Operation Southern Watch over Iraq and Operation Enduring Freedom over Afghanistan. Missions included Combat Search and Rescue alert and joint training missions over Kuwait. 111th Weapons personnel assisted in the loading of combat ordnance for the first sorties into Afghanistan in November, 2001.

From October 2002 - January 2003, the wing was the lead unit for a short notice, voluntary, out-of-cycle AEF deployment to Bagram AB, Afghanistan. Bagram had been a massive Soviet base during the decade when they occupied Afghanistan (1979-89), but was almost completely destroyed in that period and civil war afterwards. The 111th aircraft supported joint combat flight operations with US Army, Special Forces, and coalition ground forces in Afghanistan. The A-10s were flown and maintained in the most primitive conditions, yet the 111th personnel flew 100% of the assigned tasking for their entire deployment - at four times the normal sortie rate of home. Other unique aspects of the operation were total 'blacked out' night-time operations (no lights on the field or camp - everything was done by night vision goggles); an extensive number of mines/UXOs around and on the air field; extreme weather conditions and enemy shelling using 107mm rockets.

Operation Iraqi Freedom
Upon returning to the U.S. in January 2003, the 111th FW again volunteered to participate in another SWA deployment to Al Jaber AB, Kuwait [fourth visit] from February 2003 - May 2003. The wing deployed for joint combat flight operations, in support of US Army, Marine and British ground forces as part of the initial phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Wing personnel were initially stationed at Al Jaber before transferring to Tallil AB, Iraq, midway through the initial campaign. Tallil was a former Iraqi air force base, which had not been used in a decade.

During this campaign, which included direct support for coalition armor forces during the entire invasion from the Kuwait border, through Basra and Baghdad, the wing pilots and maintainers successfully operated at a very high sortie rate. Tallil operations set another milestone due to its austere nature and forward location (which was essential to support the armor's thrust toward the capital).

The 111th Fighter Wing's achievement of voluntarily deploying to austere bases in two separate combat operations within a five month period [2003] was part of the reason the unit was awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, with Valor, in 2005. It also was awarded the Reserve Family Readiness Award in 2003 and the ANG Distinguished Flying Unit Award in 2004.

Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Valor
The 111th Fighter Wing converted to the Litening II Targeting pod in 2004; and participated in new DAWG EYE / ROVER training in that same year. The 111th voluntarily donated one of it's airframes in 2004 to be converted to the A-10C, for the year-long testing of that new system. The first A-10C [111th FW tail # 641] was rolled out in January, 2005. Future plans call for a conversion to the A-10C aircraft, which is a major upgrade from the analog to the digital realm, in the 2006-08 timeframe.

Printable Fact Sheet

Some more official info:

Interested in becoming an A-10 Pilot?
Thanks for your interest in applying for a pilot training slot through the 111th Fighter Wing. The 103rd Fighter Squadron flies the A-10 "Warthog" for the Pennsylvania Air National Guard located at the Willow Grove Air Reserve Station, Horsham, Pennsylvania.

Due to the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, our A-10s are slated to be distributed to other A-10 units beginning in 2009, a process which will be complete by 2011. Because of that, we will not be bringing on new pilot applicants.

Our A-10s are slated to be distributed primarily to the following locations:
- Davis-Monthan Air Force Base:
- ID Air National Guard (Boise):
- MI Air National Guard (Selfridge):

We would encourage you to contact one of the above units to join our total Air Force team.


A-10 Inventory

According to Brian Walter, the following A-10s were with the unit at the end of it's last several years of flying with a full compliment of aircraft (additional info is from my Warthog Aircraft Database):

78-0641 (A10-0261) 103rd FS, 111th FW (PA)

78-0658 (A10-0278) 103rd FS, 111th FW (PA)

78-0692 (A10-0312) 103rd FS, 111th FW (PA)

79-0170 (A10-0434) 103rd FS, 111th FW (PA)

79-0193 (A10-0457) 76th TFS, 23rd TFW (EL); Desert Storm; 103rd FS, 111th FW (PA)

79-0219 (A10-0483) 103rd FS, 111th FW (PA)

80-0152 (A10-0502) 75th TFS, 23rd TFW (EL); Desert Storm (flew as a 76th TFS replacement bird); 103rd FS, 111th FW (PA)

80-0184 (A10-0534) 103rd FS, 111th FW (PA)

80-0196 (A10-0546) 103rd FS, 111th FW (PA)

80-0214 (A10-0564) 103rd FS, 111th FW (PA)

80-0230 (A10-0580) to AMARC as AC0232 27 Sep 2000; returned to service 21 Nov 2000; back to AMARC as AC0327 7 Nov 2002; returned to service; 103rd FS, 111th FW (PA)

80-0273 (A10-0623) 103rd FS, 111th FW (PA)

80-0275 (A10-0625) 103rd FS, 111th FW (PA)

81-0949 (A10-0644) to AMARC as AC0240 21 Nov 2000; returned to service 20 Jan 2001; 103rd FS, 111th FW (PA)

81-0981 (A10-0676) 103rd FS, 111th FW (PA)

82-0647 (A10-0695) 103rd FS, 111th FW (PA)

82-0659 (A10-0707) 103rd FS, 111th FW (PA)

From the archives

From the book "Fairchild A-10 - Fighting Warthog", Rick Stephens, World Air Power Journal Special, 1995 (owned by me):

111th Fighter Group (ANG)

Based at NAS Willow Grove, PA, the 103rd TASS 'Black Hogs' of the 111th FG (ANG) converted from the OA-37B to the A-10A in June 1990. Aircraft are marked with a 'PA' tailcode, with red, yellow, or blue fin-caps (depending on flight), and a red 'keystone' (the state symbol) on the engine nacelles. On 16 March 1992, the 111th became an FG and the 103rd an FS, and all their aircraft were redesignated as OA-10s.

Related photo captions:

Right: Carrying a red keystone motif on its engine cowling, this was one of the first OA-10As assigned to the 103rd TASS at Willow Grove. It is posing alongside the unit's then Operational Aircraft, a C-131. Today the unit flies a C-26A.

Above: The 103rd TASS was the first ANG unit to receive OA-10As for the FAC mission, and the whole squadron is dedicated to the task.

Right: The 103rd FS is arranged in three flights, with either blue, red or yellow fin-stripes. This quartet contains examples of each.

In the near future, I will update this post with some more info.

Special thanks to Brian for his outstanding work, documenting the 103th Fighter Squadron's A-10 chapter. For a huge lot of exclusive pictures, please visit Brian's 111th Fighter Wing tribute website, called PHILLY HOGS - A-10's of the 111th Fighter Wing:

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A-10C Afghanistan combat ops featured by special edition of The Kandahar Chronicle

Released by 451st Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs:


Video: TF-34 Engine Repair Facility Relocation

Released by 23rd Wing Public Affairs:

Play video

Moody is the new home for the TF-34 Engine Maintenance Facility.

See also:
New TF-34 engine facility reduces repair time

Maryland Air Guard Hosts Civil Air Patrol

by Master Sgt. Edward Bard
175th Wing Public Affairs

7/23/2010 - Baltimore -- Civil Air Patrol cadets were treated to orientation flights (referred to as "O-flights") at Warfield Air National Guard Base in Middle River, Md., recently.

From July 20 to 22, a Maryland Air National Guard C-130 and with a CH-47 helicopter from the Army National Guard carried the cadets on the local flights, which are aimed at exposing the cadets to military flight operations.

"Part of the encampment experience is to understand that one of the main missions of the CAP is aerospace education.... It allows the cadets to see military aircraft up close," Cadet Maj. Matt Herten, 2010 Tri-Wing Encampment, cadet commandant, said. "The Maryland Army, Air Guard and the Air Force in general are big supporters of the CAP program." CAP Cadet Major Herten has obtained his private pilot license and currently attends Penn State University.

"This may be the first time any of the cadets get to ride in military aircraft," CAP Capt. Marty Sacks, an instructor pilot and CAP liaison, said. "I know the experience is an enjoyable one for the cadets."

The flights lasted approximately 45-50 minutes in the local flying area. During their O-flights, cadets were able to see many regional landmarks like the Naval Academy, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, downtown Baltimore and Phillips Army Airfield at Aberdeen Proving Ground.

In addition to the flights, the cadets visited the base fire department and witnessed a display of the fire trucks' capabilities to suppress fires.

The cadets also had a chance to see inside of the cockpit of an A-10C attack jet. Tech. Sgt. Antonio "Tony" Queen, a crew chief from the 175th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, manned A-10 static display and answered the many questions from the cadets.

The CAP expressed appreciation for the Army and Air National Guard for the O-flights and Lt. Jason Hearne from the Fire Dept and Tech Sgt. Tony Queen for the mini tours.

According to CAP's website, the encampment is the most significant and worthwhile training experiences in a CAP cadet's career. It is a seven-day basic training-like program and is required for the prestigious Billy Mitchell Award. Encampment is designed to develop a greater understanding of the CAP and the Air Force missions and capabilities, personal and team leadership and team work.

The cadets will end their Tri-Wing Encampment on July 25, 2010.

Tech Sgt. Antonio "Tony" Queen, a Crew Chief from the 175th Maintenance Squadron took time out of his day to provide a static display of the A-10C at Warfield Air National Guard Base, Baltimore Md. This was one of the many activities during the seven-day basic training for the 2010 Tri-Wing Encampment. (CAP Photo) Hi-res


Friday, July 23, 2010

Last two A-10s depart Willow Grove

This evening (Fri, 23. Jul 2010 18:02:26 - European time), from Warthog News contributor Brian Walter, United States, I got the following bittersweet e-mail with seven attached pictures:

Last two A-10s depart Willow Grove

Here you go JJ, these are from this morning. Very sad to see them go. I'll be putting some more photos up within a few days on my website, but wanted to get these out there asap. Anything else you need, let me know. Unfortunatley, my work is pretty much finished on the A-10 stuff here. I still have photos I will post hopefully soon of their last flight to the bomb/gun range, those will go up on my website. I also have some more video to post as well.

You can add what's below as a caption to the set of photos, and whatever else you want to put as individualized captions.

This morning at 09:11 am, under a cloudy sky in Horsham, PA, the last two A-10's of the 103rd Fighter Squadron, 111th Fighter Wing of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard departed NAS JRB Willow Grove. With no more A-10s on the ramp, this marks the non-official end of A-10 (and flying operations) for the unit. The unit's official end of flying ceremony was held on June 6, 2010. Bittersweet congratulations to a top notch unit on all of their accomplishments.

A-10 78-0658. (Photo by Brian Walter) Full size

A-10 78-0658. (Photo by Brian Walter) Full size

A-10 80-0214. (Photo by Brian Walter) Full size

A-10 80-0214. (Photo by Brian Walter) Full size

A-10 80-0214. (Photo by Brian Walter) Full size

A-10 80-0214. (Photo by Brian Walter) Full size

A-10 80-0214. (Photo by Brian Walter) Full size

Please note:
- A-10 80-0214 (callsign MADHOG 2) was piloted by Lt. Col. Scot "Spartacus" Hreso, Wing Safety Officer. According to Brian, he was the first pilot to bring an A-10 to the unit at Willow Grove. Fittingly, he was the last to leave in an A-10.
- Both aircraft are carrying external fuel tanks (up to 600 US gallons each) on stations 4 and 8, and MXU-648 baggage pods (travel pods) on stations 5 and 7. Such a transfer loadout is very rare and should be very interesting to scale modelers.

See also:
111th FW Final Flight - June 6, 2010
Two more A-10s finally left Willow Grove

Special thanks to Brian for his outstanding work, documenting the 103th Fighter Squadron's A-10 chapter. For a huge lot of exclusive pictures, please visit Brian's 111th Fighter Wing tribute website, called PHILLY HOGS - A-10's of the 111th Fighter Wing:

442nd Fighter Wing members earn Lt. Gen. Leo Marquez Award

Released today by 442nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs:

Senior Airman Matthew Bounds, 442nd Maintenance Operations Flight production controller, received the award as the Outstanding Maintenance Management Production Technician of 2009. Early in 2009 the A-10 fleet was critically diagnosed with severe wing cracks. Airman Bounds worked with the maintenance teams who pioneered many of the time-compliance technical order wing crack repairs and then scheduled and completed all repairs in house ahead of the entire fleet. Numerous management innovations continue to produce outstanding savings in time and resources and solidify the 442nd Maintenance Group as a leader in the A-10 maintenance community. The 442nd Maintenance Operations Flight is part of the 442nd Fighter Wing, an A-10 Thunderbolt II reserve unit at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.The award recognizes base-level military and civil-service aircraft, munitions and missile maintenance personnel who perform hands-on maintenance or manage a maintenance function. Hi-res

Capt. Lisa Gaines, 442nd Maintenance Group munitions flight commander, received the award as the Outstanding Company Grade Manager of 2009. During this period, Captain Gaines simultaneously recovered personnel, aircraft and equipment from the unit's air expeditionary force deployment, hosted an international A-10 gunnery competition, directed munitions maintenance activities and prepared for an Air Combat Command-directed operational readiness inspection. Her leadership was a key factor in the buildup and successful delivery of more than 206,000 munitions. While preparing for the unit's upcoming operational readiness inspection, Captain Gaines quickly identified deficiencies in the unit's highly visible nuclear mishap reporting procedures and immediately resolved them by developing a quick-response 'dull sword' checklist. The 442nd Maintenance Group is part of the 442nd Fighter Wing, an A-10 Thunderbolt II reserve unit at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. The award recognizes base-level military and civil-service aircraft, munitions and missile maintenance personnel who perform hands-on maintenance or manage a maintenance function. (Courtesy photo) Full size

Tech. Sgt. James Gum, 442nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, received the 2009 Air Force Crew Chief of the Year in recognition for his outstanding contributions while assigned as an A-10 crew chief at the 442nd Fighter Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. While serving as a critical en-route support team member, he ensured the successful employment of 12 aircraft to Bagram Air Base in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His expertise contributed to more than 900 hours of combat-effective flight. His initiative, while deployed, led to significant improvements in crash-recovery capabilities. At home, his unequaled expertise proved critical to the successful response to a ground emergency on aircraft 79-111. His resourceful decisions led to a rapid and safe recovery with zero injuries and no further damage to the aircraft. The 442nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron is part of the 442nd Fighter Wing, an A-10 Thunderbolt II reserve unit at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. The award recognizes base-level military and civil-service aircraft, munitions and missile maintenance personnel who perform hands-on maintenance or manage a maintenance function. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Danielle Wolf) Hi-res

Military aircraft make practice runs in Genesee County airspace

Published: Thursday, July 22, 2010, 3:47 PM
by Ron Fonger, Flint Journal

GENESEE COUNTY -- Those military aircraft in the skies above the county today were apparently A-10 Thunderbolts based at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.

Bishop Airport officials said the planes appeared to be making practice approaches in the area early Thursday afternoon but did not land or take off from the airfield.

The distinctive aircraft have been used this week in training at Selfridge, according to a news release from base.

Selfridge officials couldn't immediately confirm the exercises but said aircraft based at the 127th Wing, Michigan Air National Guard at Selfridge routinely fly in the area and had been in Saginaw earlier today.

The A-10 was designed specifically for close air support of ground forces. It is named for the P-47 Thunderbolt, a fighter often used in close air support during the latter part of World War II, according to

This file photo shows an A-10 Thunderbolt from the 107th Fighter Squadron taking off from Selfridge Air National Guard Base for a training mission in northern Michigan on November 05, 2009. (Submitted photo)


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Video: The Making of an A-10C Pilot: Dropping Real Bombs

Released today by 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs:

1st Lt. Daniel Griffin flew to the Barry M. Goldwater range recently to drop live bombs for the first time. With an extra 500 pounds strapped to his jet, Lt. Griffin quickly learned the difference between live bombs and the practice ones he's used before.

Play video

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

107th Fighter Squadron A-10Cs caught during Dayton Air Show

Yesterday, I got the following e-mail from Jared Soergel, Cincinnati/Dayton, OH:

78-0641 (now with the 107th FS) was on display at the Dayton Air Show this past weekend, wearing the MI tailcode, but no nacelle markings. I've attached pictures of it arriving; sorry for the quality - I was just pulling in to a parking lot and hurried to get my camera out.

79-0149 was also present. I didn't get a picture of it landing, but I've attached one of the door art.

Jared Soergel
Cincinnati/Dayton, OH

Ladder door art of A-10C 79-0149. Inscription: FEAR NOT THE SWORD, BUT THE HAND THAT WIELDS IT! (Photo by Jared Soergel) Full size

A-10C 78-0641. AN/AAQ-28 LITENING AT targeting pod on station 10. (Photo by Jared Soergel) Full size

A-10C 78-0641. AN/AAQ-28 LITENING AT targeting pod on station 10. (Photo by Jared Soergel) Full size

Special thanks for sharing your exclusive pictures on Warthog News, Jared.

Afghan, American Airmen commemorate 451 AEW change of command

Updated July 22, 2010

Brig. Gen. Paul Johnson assumes command of the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing from Lt. Gen. Mike Hostage, commander, Air Forces Central Command during a ceremony July 21, 2010, at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Chad Chisholm) Hi-res

by Tech. Sgt. Renni Thornton
451st Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

7/21/2010 - KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- Brig. Gen. Paul Johnson assumed command of the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing from Brig. Gen. Guy Walsh during a change-of-command ceremony July 21 held at the Afghan Air Force compound at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.

Lt. Gen. Mike Hostage, Air Forces Central Command commander officiated the ceremony.

Several other active-duty Air Force and Afghan senior officers attended including commander, Kandahar Air Wing, Maj. Gen. Abdul Raziq Sherzai; director, Air Component Coordination Element-Afghanistan, Maj. Gen. Charles Lyon; deputy commander, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing, Brig. Gen. Jack Briggs; and commanding general, Combined Air Power Transition Force, Brig. Gen. Michael Boera.

Their presence underscored the enduring importance of the Air Force's presence and capability to the mission.

General Johnson first thanked General Hostage. "Thank you for the opportunity to lead and command the 451st."

He then thanked General Walsh for passing him the command.

"It is a privilege to follow in your shoes. I was delighted to know you stood the wing up and it is a distinct honor to follow in your footsteps. I will not break what you have been able to do and I will try to take it to the next level. Thank you for all you have done."

General Johnson also thanked the Afghan elders in attendance.

"Honored elders, thank you for your presence and you serve as a reminder of why we are here in Afghanistan. Thank you for allowing me to be part of the team here."

Assuming command, General Johnson said, "To the men and women of the 451st, you have no idea how honored I am to be here and be part of the team with you. The presence of so many afghan leaders and partners reminds us why we are here. You do really big things everyday and you do them very well. In the end, every one of them should be for the overarching goal of helping Afghanistan build capacity and capability. You volunteered to put on the uniform, volunteered to leave your families and volunteered to do extremely difficult work under challenging circumstances and you do it with a degree of excellence unmatched anywhere.

We are all American Airmen, part of a joint and coalition team and I am honored to be a part of this fight with you."

In parting, General Johnson echoed his thanks to the KAF and Regional Command-South general officers.

"Thank you for the chance to be part of your team and partnership. I will do all that I can to continue what Guy has begun and I am here to stand side by side to continue that partnership and do all that General Petraeus has in mind for us and to achieve the desires for Afghanistan to increase their capacity and capabilities."


Update July 22, 1010:

One of four additional pictures, released today in the photo section of 451st AEW's public website:

Brig. Gen. Paul Johnson, 451st Air Expeditionary Wing commander, addresses Airmen during a change-of-command ceremony at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, July 21, 2010. Afghan Airmen hosted the ceremony at the Afghan Air Force hangar to showcase the partnership between the Kandahar Air Wing and the 451 AEW. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Chad Chisholm) Hi-res

Note: Visible in the background is A-10C 82-0654 from the 81st Fighter Squadron, 52nd Fighter Wing (USAFE), Spangdahlem AB, Germany, and currently deployed with the 81st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron.

12 more A-10 pilots graduate 357th FS B-course

Lt. Col. Richard Piazza (left), 357th Fighter Squadron commander, presents the distinguished graduate award to Capt. Aaron Palan during the graduation ceremony for class 10-ABD here July 16, 2010. The distinguished graduate is jointly chosen by the squadron commander, director of operations and flight commanders. Captain Palan, who also received the academic award, is assigned to the 75th Fighter Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jerilyn Quintanilla) Hi-res

by 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

7/19/2010 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Congratulations are in order for 12 officers who became D-M's newest qualified A-10C pilots after graduating from the 357th Fighter Squadron's B-Course here July 16, 2010.

The new pilots -- and their next assignments -- are:

Maj. Maury Kent -- 47th FS, Barksdale AFB, Ga. (Air Force Reserve)
Capt. Daniel J. Mercante -- 107th FS, Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich. (Michigan ANG)
Capt. Kelly L. Nettleblad -- 25th FS, Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea
Capt. Aaron M. Palan -- 75th FS, Moody AFB, Ga.
Capt. William D. Yoakley -- 354th FS, D-M AFB, Ariz.
1st Lt. Christopher J. Anthony -- 75th FS, Moody AFB, Ga.
1st Lt. Brian Burgoon -- 25th FS, Osan AB, ROK
1st Lt. Jason R. Holm -- 107th FS, Selfridge ANGB, Mich. (Michigan ANG)
1st Lt. Daniel H. Levy -- 354th FS, D-M AFB, Ariz.
1st Lt. Steven Montalvo -- 104th FS, Warfield ANGB, Md. (Maryland ANG)
1st Lt. Richard L. Olson -- 74th FS, Moody AFB, Ga.
1st Lt. Christopher D. Van Liere -- 163rd FS, Fort Wayne ANGB, Indiana (Indiana Air National Guard)


New TF-34 engine facility reduces repair time

by Airman 1st Class Nicholas Benroth
23rd Wing Public Affairs

7/19/2010 - MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- The opening of a new engine facility at Moody signals a faster, more efficient way to produce and repair the engines of the A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft.

The TF-34 Engine Repair Facility recently had a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the facility's move from Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., to Moody. The move is based upon the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission's recommendation to relocate TF-34 engine intermediate maintenance.

"When we used to receive engines from Shaw, it would take a few days and then any problems with the engines would have to be sent back," said Senior Master Sgt. David Smith, 23rd Component Maintenance Squadron propulsion flight chief. "Now if we need something on the engine fixed, it is here on base, which makes it more convenient."

The facility will receive engines that need repair, break them down and then build them back up. After they are rebuilt, they are tested to make sure everything is in working order before going through a final inspection.

"The original purpose of the facility being sent here was to support five bases, but now the mission of the facility is to provide engines to Moody and Eglin AFB, Fla.," said Sergeant Smith. "The facility provides engines to the units at home station and the deployed location."

When the facility was moved here, 26 Airmen from Shaw came to Moody to provide assistance to the maintenance group.

"The arrival of experienced Airmen from Shaw is helping the transition to Moody immensely," said Sergeant Smith. "They have a lot of experience working with these engines and their expertise is invaluable."

The Airmen from Shaw continue to support Moody even after the moving of the facility, which helps increase the productivity of the shop immensely.

"The decision to realign Shaw called for relocating the TF-34 engine facility to maximize the operational and war fighter capabilities," said Col. Gary Henderson, 23rd Wing commander. "The Flying Tigers will gladly continue the legacy of the TF-34 engine."

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Col. Gary Henderson, 23rd Wing commander, cuts the ceremonial ribbon with Debbie Cannon, U.S. Senator regional representative, during the TF-34 Engine Repair Facility ribbon-cutting ceremony here July 16, 2010. Other members from Moody and community leaders also assisted in cutting the ribbon. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Benjamin Wiseman) Hi-res


Photos: 127th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron training

Released by 127th Wing Public Affairs:

SrA. Cecil Manning tows an A-10 Warthog with a Coleman aircraft tow tractor on July 17, 2010, at Selfridge ANGB. Traditional guard members of the 127th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron competed in skill task functions required for A-10 Crew Chiefs. (U.S. Air Force photo by MSgt. Clarence Pence) Hi-res

TSgt. Danny Smith changes the main landing gear wheel and tire on an A-10 Warthog on July 17, 2010, at Selfridge ANGB, Michigan. Traditional guard members of the 127th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron competed in skill task functions required for A-10 Crew Chiefs. (U.S. Air Force photo by MSgt Clarence Pence) Hi-res

SrA. Joseph Mastere, SSgt. Mike Goebel, TSgt. Juan Lopez and SSgt. Craig Hawkins check and fill the canopy wash solvent on an A-10 Warthog at Selfridge ANGB, July 17, 2010. The traditional-status guard members of the 127th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron competed in skill task functions required for A-10 Crew Chiefs. (U.S. Air Force photo by MSgt. Clarence Pence) Hi-res

Monday, July 19, 2010

Video: 127th AMXS Skills Competition

127th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron training video

by SSgt. Rachel Barton
127th Wing Public Affairs

7/18/2010 - Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich. -- The full time technicians of the 127th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron have developed a unique training blitz which combines job skills with friendly competition on the flight line and in the hangars. Crew chiefs of the 191st AMXS squadron worked in teams of four, competing at tasks such as towing aircraft, changing tires, and adding necessary lubricants and fluids to the A-10 attack aircraft. Click here to see a video of the action.



Reporter: It was crew chief versus crew chief at Selfridge Air National Guard Base during the July unit training assembly. The full time technicians of the 127th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron have developed a unique training blitz which combines job skills with friendly competition on the flight line and in the hangars. Crew chiefs of the 191st AMXS squadron worked in teams of four, competing at tasks such as towing aircraft, changing tires, and adding necessary lubricants and fluids to the A-10 attack aircraft. The 191st AMXS crew chiefs are the enlisted specialists charged with overseeing Selfridge's fleet of A-10s.


By posting of that I overlooked the typo "191st AMXS", made by 127th Wing Public Affairs. In fact, the 191st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (191st AMXS) is associated to the 127th Air Refueling Group, a KC-135 Stratotanker unit and subordinated to the 127th Wing.

Caught in the video are A-10s 80-0255 and 80-0269, formerly assigned to the 172nd Fighter Squadron, 110th Fighter Wing (Michigan ANG), Battle Creek, Michigan (Tailcode BC).

Background info from my Warthog Aircraft Database:
80-0255 (A10-0605) 172nd FS, 110th FW (BC)
80-0269 (A10-0619) 172nd FS, 110th FW (BC)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Lt. Col. Michael Schultz is leaving the 47th Fighter Squadron for Moody

Released today by 917th Wing Public Affairs as part of a news photo release "August Unit Training Assembly weekend events":

7/15/2010 - Lt. Col. Michael Schultz, 47th Fighter Squadron, flight commander, gets soaked by family and friends after completing his final flight at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, July 10, 2010. Colonel Schultz is leaving the 47th FS and continuing his service to the Air Force at Moody AFB, Georgia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Crystal Jordan) Hi-res


Thursday, July 15, 2010

81st Fighter Squadron A-10Cs caught at Nordhorn Range June 1, 2010

Today, from Warthog News contributor Alex I got an e-mail with four pictures, taken by him at Nordhorn Range, Germany, June 1, 2010:

A-10C 81-0960 on strafing pass. (Copyright by Alex) Full size

A-10C 82-0646. All eleven pylons are empty. And: No wingtip chaff/flare dispensers. (Copyright by Alex) Full size

A-10C 82-0646. (Copyright by Alex) Full size

A-10C 82-0646 on right turn. (Copyright by Alex) Full size

On German FlugzeugForum, Alex already posted the following additional shots:

A-10C 81-0960. (Copyright by Alex)

A-10C 81-0960 on strafing pass. (Copyright by Alex)

A-10C 81-0960. (Copyright by Alex)

Wing passes ORI

by Staff Sgt. Kent Kagarise
442nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

7/14/2010 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- The 442nd Fighter Wing received a passing grade during the operational readiness inspection July 9-11.

Crews from around the wing worked diligently to save moulage victims, load bombs onto aircraft and maintain situational awareness and readiness at all times.

While medical personnel treated victims with missing limbs and covered in shrapnel, weapons load crews combined passion and skill to load bombs onto the A-10 Thunderbolt II.

Tech. Sgt. Butch Portell, 442nd Maintenance Squadron weapons loader painted a picture of when his crew had to work one-man-short due to simulation input from an inspector and how the crew functioned while in full mission oriented protective posture.

"They sent us another guy who we weren't familiar with to help out since we were down a man," Sergeant Portell said. "He didn't know our body language, which made it difficult because when your team knows each other it's possible to communicate in MOPP 4 without talking."

Tech. Sgt. Dennis Jensen, weapons loader crew chief, is an Airman with ample time under the aircraft and works as a leader to guide his crew.

"Time is our greatest obstacle," Sergeant Jensen said. "At a lot of jobs you can back track if you've made a mistake -- here we only have so much time to load and check weapons systems in order to turn jets."

Time is not the only obstacle these weapons loaders face.

"No doubt about it, this can be a dangerous job," said Tech. Sergeant Hafkey, weapons loader. "We can lose fingers really easily if we aren't careful. If we don't do our job right, bombs may not detonate when they are supposed to, or maybe not at all."

A phase one inspection is tentatively scheduled for fall 2011.


Bier honored at Air Force Weapons School graduation

7/14/2010 2:15:00 PM
Ripon Commonwealth Press

Capt. Joel "Won" Bier graduated from US Air Force Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, NV June 12.

During the ceremony, Bier was honored by receiving the top academic award in his squadron of A-10 pilots. He, along with four other A-10 Thunderbolt II pilots, was selected to participate in the very intensive six month training program.

The mission of the United States Air Force Weapons School is to teach graduate-level instructor courses, which provide the world's most advanced training in weapons and tactics employment to officers of the combat air forces.

The A-10 Thunderbolt (commonly referred to as "Warthog") is a single seat, twin engine fighter attack jet aircraft designed in the early 1970s. It is the first aircraft exclusively designed for the US Air Force to provide close air support for ground forces by attacking tanks, armored vehicles and other ground targets.

Read the full story in the July 15, 2010 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.

Joel Bier receives an award at graduation.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Two more A-10s finally left Willow Grove

At NAS JRB Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, Warthog News contributor Brian Walter from United States had the opportunity to take the following shots as A-10s 80-0230 and 80-0152 finally left their home base in the morning hours of July 9, 2010:

A-10 80-0230. (Photo by Brian Walter) Full size

A-10 80-0230. (Photo by Brian Walter) Full size

A-10 80-0152. (Photo by Brian Walter) Full size

A-10 80-0152. (Photo by Brian Walter) Full size

A-10 80-0152. (Photo by Brian Walter) Full size

Please note: Both aircraft are carrying external fuel tanks (up to 600 US gallons each) on stations 4 and 8, and MXU-648 baggage pods (travel pods) on stations 5 and 7. Such a transfer loadout is very rare and should be very interesting to scale modelers. As mentioned in the Warthog Territory Forums (topic It's Official), both Hogs were turned at Fort Wayne to Hill AFB for A-10C modification on the same day (with a layover at Barksdale AFB). A-10 80-0230 was piloted by Lt. Col. Fink.

For a huge lot of exclusive pictures, please visit Brian's 111th Fighter Wing tribute website, called PHILLY HOGS - A-10's of the 111th Fighter Wing: