By Joachim Jacob, Warthog News Editor
Thanks to a German aviation friend of mine who wants to remain anonymous, today I was able to preserve a small but very informative collection of original Farchild Republic Company's news releases and some of their black-and-white press photos from the seventies. Now, I have to scan and digitalize all of this, allongside with some clipped newspaper stuff and additional personal A-10 photos.
Just an appetizer:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
354th TACTICAL FIGHTER WING COMPLETES FIRST FULL YEAR OF A-10 OPERATIONS
FARMINGDALE, L.I., N.Y., September 3, 1978 -- The 354th Tactical Fighter Wing at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, South Carolina, is the first operational U.S. Air Force wing to complete a full year of operations equipped with the USAF/Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II close air support aircraft.
The wing commander of the 354th, Colonel Robert H. Reed, reported that his organization, which started in July 1977 with 14 new A-10 aircraft and 11 pilots, had grown to 55 A-10s and 68 mission-ready pilots in June 1978. In the previous 12 months, according to Colonel Reed, those pilots flew 7,165 sorties for a total of 12,184 hours.
Three tactical fighter squadrons comprise the 354th. They include the 353rd (Black Panthers) Tactical Fighter Squadron, the 355th (Fighting Falcons) Tactical Fighter Squadron and the 356th (Green Demons) Tactical Fighter Squadron.
When A-10 operations got underway last year, a total of 138 sorties representing 294 hours were flown in the initial month. Last June, Myrtle Beach Air Force Base operations handled 1,016 A-10 sorties totaling 1,651 hours.
Production aircraft are also in service with the U.S. Air Force's Tactical Air Command at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, and Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. With nearly 140 A-10 aircraft presently in the Air Force's inventory, plans are to ultimately procure 733 aircraft to equip tactical fighter wings in Europe and components of the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve in the United States.