Monday, January 31, 2011

Design our A-10's nose art

Released by 124th Fighter Wing Public Affairs in the February 2011 issue of The Beacon Live, the official online newsletter of the Idaho Air National Guard:

January 28, 2011

The 190th Fighter Squadron is in need of a new and fresh skull theme nose design for the Boise Hawgs. They are in need of an artist with energy and time to come up with a design that will go down in history!

The winner for the best entry for nose art will receive a prize to be determined at a later time. For more information, please call the 190th Ops Desk at (208) 422-5348 or call public affairs at (208) 422-6157.

Please submit a jpg of your design to or stop by public affairs to have your drawing scanned.


The 190th Fighter Squadron emblem with a skull and two crisscrossed Avenger cannons instead the usual two crisscrossed bones. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

Related Warthog Territory Forums topic

Please note: Creating a skull around an A-10 bow section is not easy...

I already sent related requests to some known artists ...

Master Sgt. Bradley Jaeckel dies

Released by 124th Fighter Wing Public Affairs in the February 2011 issue of The Beacon Live, the official online newsletter of the Idaho Air National Guard:

January 28, 2011

By Master Sgt. Tom Gloeckle
124th Fighter Wing Public Affairs NCOIC

Master Sgt. Bradley Jaeckel, a crew chief assigned to the 124th Maintenance Squadron's A-10 Phase Dock, passed away Jan. 6 due to complications related to a medical condition.

Family, friends and co-workers met to celebrate his life at the Chaplain Art Moore
Memorial Chapel at Gowen Field Jan. 13.

Sergeant Jaeckel joined the Air Force in April 1985 and joined the Idaho Air National Guard in January 1990. He served his state in a number of wildfire and flood reliefs and served his country overseas in numerous foreign nations to include Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, and Sicily for the Bosnian conflict. He originally was an F-111 Crew Chief in the Active Air Force. In the Air National Guard, he went from crew chief to weapons loader to the A-10 Phase Docks where he achieved the rank of master sergeant and position of phase work leader.

He deployed to Iraq in 2007 as the dock chief, where he lead with integrity and strength. He was well known to his fellow Airmen for a dry and outstanding sense of humor, who had the ability to spotlight and correct potential problem areas. According to friends, he was a man that could see into the heart of a situation and used that to give wise counsel to any who asked.

"He led by example, cared about his people first, and used his sense of humor as a tool to train his people, "said Master Sgt. Mark Klaudt, long time friend, fellow crew chief, and phase dock co-worker.

He was highly decorated, honors included: the global war on terrorism citation with two devices, the Kosovo campaign medal, and the Air Force achievement award.

***Message from the Summary Courts Officer***

Anyone who may have a claim for or against his estate is asked to contact Capt. Roger Daniel, appointed summary courts officer, at (208) 422-5695 no later than Feb. 11, 2011.

Probably a personal picture of Master Sgt. Bradley Jaeckel, driving a motor boat. Full size


Condolences to the Jaeckel family from the Warthog News editorial staff.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

303rd Fighter Squadron A-10Cs caught at Nellis during Red Flag 11-2

Updated January 30, 2011

At Nellis AFB, Nevada, Warthog News contributor Bruce Smith from the United States had the opportunity to take the following shots of A-10Cs from the 303rd Fighter Squadron, 442nd Fighter Wing (AFRC), Whiteman AFB, Missouri, currently participating in Red Flag 11-2:

A-10C 78-0631, 2011-01-25. (Photo by Bruce Smith) Full size

A-10C 79-0093, 2011-01-25. (Photo by Bruce Smith) Full size

A-10C 79-0109, 2011-01-25. (Photo by Bruce Smith) Full size

A-10C 79-0114, 2011-01-25. (Photo by Bruce Smith) Full size

A-10C 79-0118, 2011-01-25. (Photo by Bruce Smith) Full size

A-10C 79-0121, 2011-01-25. (Photo by Bruce Smith) Full size

A-10C 79-0164, 2011-01-25. (Photo by Bruce Smith) Full size

A-10C 79-0122, marked 442FW as the 442nd Fighter Wing flagship, 2011-01-25. (Photo by Bruce Smith) Full size

A-10C 78-0631, 2011-01-24. (Photo by Bruce Smith) Full size

Thanks to Bruce's outstanding coverage, at least the following eight participating aircraft are identified by photos:

A-10C 78-0631
A-10C 79-0093
A-10C 79-0109
A-10C 79-0114
A-10C 79-0118
A-10C 79-0121
A-10C 79-0122
A-10C 79-0164

According to the visible loadouts, the 303rd FS A-10Cs are still equipped with the AN/AAQ-28 LITENING AT targeting pod, mostly carried on station 2.

Update January 30, 2011:

Today, Bruce e-mailed me: There are 2 more here, total of 10. Other 2 are 79-0123 and 80-0201. When I get better pics than I got so far, I'll put them up (or I'll try to make them more presentable anyway).

Thank you, Bruce. And so, we got the complete list:

A-10C 78-0631
A-10C 79-0093
A-10C 79-0109
A-10C 79-0114
A-10C 79-0118
A-10C 79-0121
A-10C 79-0122
A-10C 79-0123
A-10C 79-0164
A-10C 80-0201

Newly-appointed adjutant general of Michigan visits Selfridge

Released by 127th Wing Public Affairs:

Command Sgt. Major Delbert Husband and Major Gen. Gregory J. Vadnais examine the cockpit of an A-10 Thunderbolt II in the maintenance hangar of the 127th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich. Vadnais is the newly-appointed adjutant general of Michigan. He visited Selfridge on Jan. 25, 2011, for mission briefings and a tour of the base. Vadnais assumed the position of adjutant general of Michigan at the beginning of January. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Rachel Barton) Hi-res

Note: Pictured is A-10C 80-0262 from the 107th Fighter Squadron.

442nd Fighter Wing A-10C Thunderbolt II pilots and 303rd Fighter Squadron A-10Cs participate in Red Flag 11-2 at Nellis

By Joachim Jacob

It's official now: A-10C Thunderbolt II pilots from the 442nd Fighter Wing (AFRES), Whiteman AFB, Missouri, and an unknown number of 303rd Fighter Squadron A-10Cs are participating in Red Flag 11-2 at Nellis AFB, Nevada, held from January 24 to February 4.

Transportation technicians haul equipment 1,515 miles for Red Flag

Released by 442nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs:

1/28/2011 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. – Senior Airman Kirk Simon and Tech. Sgt. Donielle Myles, 442nd Logistics Readiness Squadron transportation technicians, hauled support equipment approximately 1,515 miles from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. to Nellis AFB, Nev. for Red Flag, an aerial combat competition the 442nd Fighter Wing A-10 Thunderbolt II pilots compete in through Feb. 4, 2011. The 442nd Fighter Wing is an Air Force Reserve unit at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tracy Brown) Hi-res


Red Flag 11-2 hosts media day

Released by Nellis Public Affairs:

1/25/2011 - Elizabeth Stetor takes photos of an A-10 Thunderbolt II deployed in support of Red Flag 11-2 during an organized media day on the flightline Jan. 25. The 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs office escorted more than 40 aviation photographers from across North America and Europe to take photos for various publications. Throughout the combined, combat training exercise the office will arrange about 13 media visits for local and national news agencies to tell the Red Flag story. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Wilson) Hi-res


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Now on Warthog News: Historic Desert Storm A-10 pictures taken by Kevin M. Michalik

From Kevin M. Michalik, a retired USAF MSgt., I got the kind permission to post his Desert Storm A-10 pictures on my blog. Kevin took all of these shots with his own camera when he was deployed with the 4410th Operational Support Wing to King Khalid Military City (KKMC), Saudi Arabia, in support of operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Kevin told me:

We, were a group, that were ordered for RAF Bentwater's, UK, 81 TFW, 81 AGS, 510th support all weapons loading at the FOL during the war.

A-10A 78-0594 from the 353rd TFS/354th TFW "Panthers", tail code "MB" - Myrtle Beach AFB, SC - King Fahd Airport, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Kevin M. Michalik)

Keith Sanders showing off the kills this A-10 had over Iraq. (Photo by Kevin M. Michalik)

A-10A 78-0668 loaded for another mission. (Photo by Kevin M. Michalik)

Red Flag 11-2 provides combat experience

by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Wilson
Red Flag 11-2 Public Affairs

1/25/2011 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- Red Flag 11-2 began here Jan. 24, sending its first pilots into a simulated combat environment designed to give aircrew members the skills needed to survive in war.

"The mission of every Red Flag is to expose our combat aircrew to realistic training," said Col. S. Clinton Hinote, Red Flag 11-2 Air Expeditionary Wing commander. "The idea is that if you give them very realistic combat-like training early in their careers then they will make the mistakes that most people are going to make in the training environment."

Making mistakes in a training environment helps the aircrew learn valuable lessons for real combat.

A study conducted during the Vietnam War stated that if a pilot survived his first ten combat missions his chances of survival through the conflict went up exponentially, Colonel Hinote said.

Helping the aircrew gain combat experience is a professional aggressor force stationed at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Units assigned to the 57th Adversary Tactics Group act as the "Bad Guys" during Red Flag exercises, trying to stop the deployed forces from accomplishing their mission.

"Today we are going to try to bomb some airfields and they are trying to stop us," Colonel Hinote said. "Some of our folks are going to get shot down and we're going to shoot down some of their folks and we are going to come back and learn from the experience and get better at it."

Though the combat missions are the main reason for Red Flag exercises the event has more than one goal.

"Some of the main goals of Red Flag 11-2 are large force integration, strengthening coalition partnerships with the United Arab Emirates and Belgium, and bettering coalition interoperability," said Lt. Col. Dewey Smith, Red Flag 11-2 team chief.

None of the goals of the exercise can be met, however, if units from across the continental U.S., Europe and the Middle East cannot pull together as a team.

"The biggest challenge we will have is creating a coherent fighting team in the space of just a few days" Colonel Hinote said. "Otherwise the enemy aircraft and the enemy surface to air missiles are going to hand us our lunch."

Once the team is fighting together they have full intentions to take advantage of the opportunity Red Flag provides.

" Red Flag is a gift that has been given to us," Colonel Hinote said. "It is important to be thankful for that because other folks don't get it and we have to take full advantage of this."

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- An A-10 Thunderbolt II deployed from the 442nd Fighter Squadron, Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., takes off from the flightline during the first day of Red Flag 11-2 Jan. 24. Red Flag is a combined exercise that provides a realistic combat training environment to the U.S. and its allies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Wilson) Hi-res

Note: Pictured is A-10C 79-0114. AN/AAQ-28 LITENING AT targeting pod on station 2.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Kandahar Airmen consolidate flying missions, free space for growing Afghan unit

by Senior Airman Melissa B. White
451st Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

1/21/2011 - KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- The 451st Air Expeditionary Wing recently began moving assets on Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, as part of a long-term project to consolidate the wing's missions and to free space for the expanding Afghan unit.

The successful move of the 75th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron marked the first of 10 units and two groups to be consolidating on one side of the flightline, freeing space and allowing the missions of Afghanistan's Kandahar Air Wing to grow in the near future.

"This move is a good move for both us and the Afghans here at KAF," said Brig. Gen. Paul Johnson, 451st Air Expeditionary Wing commander. "It allows us to more effectively complete our mission of protecting and providing for our ground troops and commanders, but it also gives the chance for our Afghan partners to grow, allowing them to become stronger and more capable."

The process began a few months ago when the 451st Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron and REDHORSE constructed new facilities for the fighter unit. A total of two hangars, three large California tents, eight smaller Alaska tents, and five concrete facilities were erected to house the nearly 300 people supporting and assigned to the 75th EFS and their equipment. The 451st Expeditionary Communications Squadron was also called upon to install and connect more than 500 feet of fiber optic cable, 20,000 feet of copper cable, and provide dozens of network connections.

"We have much safer and larger facilities now, so we have a lot more room to fit all of our people," said Capt. Tom Harney, 75th EFS pilot and chief of standards and evaluations. "A lot of the younger guys came together to design our new rest room. It's a lot nicer and quieter than the one before, so morale is really high."

The move began in late December with the 75th EFS and their A-10C Thunderbolt IIs. The physical move took about five days to complete, but settling into the new facilities and surroundings took a little longer.

"How many times have you moved? Just think of all disruption to your entire life when you're moving," said Senior Master Sgt. Brett Burroughs, 451st Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 75th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit assistant superintendent. "There were a lot of moving pieces and it required a lot of dedication and time, but we all worked together and it was a huge accomplishment."

During the move, the 451st Expeditionary Maintenance Group and 451st Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron collectively moved 375,000 pounds or about 115 pallets of equipment to sustain maintenance operations for the unit. With support of all the units throughout the process, the A-10 unit was able to support 100 percent of their missions by flying nearly 75 sorties of close air support for troops on the ground.

"The people who planned this and helped with the move were really on top of things because we still had to fly," said Captain Harney. "The mission doesn't change just because we're moving. If we weren't able to do our job, then we would've been letting down the guys on the ground, and that can't happen."

The next unit scheduled to move is the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter unit, with the rest of the units scheduled to follow suit within the next year.

Maj. Loren Coulter exits an A-10C Thunderbolt II, Jan. 11, 2011, at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. The 75th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron recently moved their assets to the other side of the flightline, marking the first of many moves toward consolidating the wing?s missions. Major Coulter is an A-10 pilot assigned to the 75th EFS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Willard E. Grande II) Hi-res

Staff Sgt. Tom Wilson fills an A-10C Thunderbolt II with liquid oxygen, Jan. 11, 2011, at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. The 75th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron recently moved their assets to the other side of the flightline, marking the first of many moves toward consolidating the wing?s missions. Sergeant Wilson is a crew chief assigned to the 451st Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Willard E. Grande II) Hi-res

Staff Sgt. William Cooper conducts an intake and exhaust inspection on an A-10C Thunderbolt II, Jan. 11, 2011, at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. The 75th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron recently moved their assets to the other side of the flightline, marking the first of many moves toward consolidating the wing?s missions. Sergeant Cooper is an electro-environmental craftsman assigned to the 451st Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Willard E. Grande II) Hi-res


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

442nd Fighter Wing vice commander Colonel Hoff's fini flight

Released very late by 442nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs:

Lt. Col. Mark Ernewein, Col. James Mackey, Col. John Hoff and Col. David Closen, A-10 Thunderbolt II pilots, prepare for Colonel Hoff's fini flight, Dec. 2, 2010. Colonel Hoff was the vice commander of the 442nd Fighter Wing. A fini flight is symbolic of a pilot's final flight with a particular squadron or aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jason Huddleston) Hi-res


Latest official USAF online biography of Colonel John J. Hoff Jr.:


Colonel John J. Hoff Jr. is the vice wing commander of the 442nd Fighter Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. The wing is an Air Force Reserve A-10 Thunderbolt II unit. As vice wing commander, he is responsible for the manning, training and combat readiness for approximately 1,200 Air Force reservists at Whiteman AFB and at three geographically separated units at Offutt AFB, Neb., and Moody AFB, Ga.

Colonel Hoff received his commission through the Reserve Officer Training Corps after graduating from the University of Missouri where he earned a Bachelor's of Science degree in agriculture. As a command pilot, he has logged more than 3,100 hours in the OV-10 Bronco, F-15E Strike Eagle and A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. Col Hoff has more than 450 combat hours supporting Operations Desert Shield and Storm, Northern and Southern Watch, Deny Flight, Iraqi Freedom, and Enduring Freedom. Before assuming his current position in February 2008, he was the commander of the 303rd Fighter Squadron and special assistant to the 442nd Operations Group commander.

1985 Bachelor's of Science Degree, University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo.
1995 Squadron Officers School, by correspondence
2001 Air Command and Staff, by correspondence
2006 Air War College, by correspondence

1. November 1985 - May 1987, undergraduate pilot training, 47th Flying Training Squadron, Laughlin AFB, Texas
2. May 1987 - February 1990, forward air controller, 21st Tactical Air Support Squadron, Shaw AFB, S.C.
3. February 1990 - October 1990, F-15E pilot training, 405th Training Squadron, Luke AFB, Ariz.
4. October 1990 - December 1991, F-15E pilot, 335th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Seymour-Johnson AFB, N.C.
5. December 1991 - May 1993, chief of operations scheduling, 4th Operations Support Squadron, Seymour-Johnson AFB, N.C.
6. November 1993 - May 2002, A-10 instructor pilot, 303rd Fighter Squadron, Whiteman AFB, Mo.
7. May 2002 - March 2005, flight commander, 303rd Fighter Squadron, Whiteman AFB, Mo.
8. March 2005 - May 2007, commander, 303rd Fighter Squadron, Whiteman AFB, Mo.
9. May 2007-February 2008, special assistant to the commander, 442nd Operations Group, Whiteman AFB, Mo.
10. February 2008 - April 2010, commander, 442nd Operations Group, Whiteman AFB, Mo.
11. April 2010 - Present, vice commander, 442nd Fighter Wing, Whiteman AFB, Mo.

Rating: Command Pilot
Flight hours: More than 3,100
Aircraft flown: T-37, T-38, OV-10, F-15E, A-10

Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor
Bronze Star
Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air Medal with nine oak leaf clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Combat Action Medal
Meritorious Unit Award with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Commendation Medal
Air Force Achievement Medal
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Valor and two oak leaf clusters

Second Lieutenant Oct. 30, 1985
First Lieutenant Oct. 30, 1987
Captain Oct. 30, 1989
Major Oct. 1, 1998
Lieutenant Colonel Oct. 19, 2004
Colonel Feb. 7, 2008

(Current as of June 2010)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wing commander speaks at BCC luncheon

by Staff Sgt. Danielle Wolf
442nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

1/18/2011 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Jan. 6, Col. Eric S. Overturf, 442nd Fighter Wing commander, was the guest speaker at the Whiteman Air Force Base - Base Community Council luncheon.

As the guest speaker, Colonel Overturf briefed approximately 150 people from Warrensburg and LaMonte, Mo. - two communities that hundreds of 442nd FW Citizen Airmen reside in.

"Citizen Airmen could not serve their country without the support of their families, employers and local community, so it's important we get to know these people and they know our mission," Colonel Overturf said.

He talked about upcoming events in the 442nd FW, such as Red Flag, an aerial-combat exercise the 303rd Fighter Squadron A-10 Thunderbolt II pilots will participate in at the end of January; a feature on the 442nd FW and A-10 on an upcoming episode of Friends of the NRA: The X-Ring, filmed here earlier this month and scheduled to air on the Outdoor Channel March 27; and the gaining of two more geographically separated units, one at Barksdale AFB, La., and one at Davis-Montham AFB, Ariz. By gaining the final two GSUs, the 442nd FW will control all A-10s in the Air Force Reserve Command - an impressive, yet challenging, feat.

"Bringing all the Air Force Reserve A-10s under the control of the 442nd FW will make it easier to generate and deploy A-10s to support combat tasking," Colonel Overturf said.

After the luncheon, the colonel and his wife had the opportunity to meet various members of the communities and around the base.

The base community council is comprised of more than 350 members representing 18 communities in Missouri. The group meets here monthly. The BCC works closely with the base to plan special events that link the nearby communities with members of the Air Force. Members of the BCC come from a diverse group of business, religious, educational and professional careers. The council has been a part of Team Whiteman for more than 20 years and sponsors events such as fundraiser golf tournaments and the air show.

"My wife, Karla, and I are looking forward to spending time with the BCC and in all the local communities to thank them for their support," Colonel Overturf said.


New commander sets priorities for wing

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

1/17/2011 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- During a change-of-command ceremony Dec. 5, Col. Eric S. Overturf assumed command of the 442nd Fighter Wing from Col. Mark L. Clemons.

During the ceremony, Maj. Gen. Frank Padilla talked about how this transition resembles a similar change in leadership that took place in the New York Yankees organization when Mickey Mantle replaced Joe DiMaggio as the team clipper.

The team already had a reputation of excellence, which the rookie, Mantle, only needed to further - a sentiment that is echoed throughout the 442nd FW.

"We already have an outstanding wing that is moving in the right direction," 442nd FW Command Chief Master Sgt. Allan Sturges said. "I'm sure when it's all said and done, Colonel Overturf will leave it better than he found it."

Colonel Overturf said he has set short-term goals to get to know the men and women of the 442nd FW. He said he plans to spend a few weeks getting to know the groups and become familiar with the Citizen Airmen here.

"There are so many people doing great things around here," Colonel Overturf said. "I don't need to come in and fix anything right off the bat."

The new commander said the long-term goals are clear, and he is optimistic as he anticipates an outstanding score on the operational readiness inspection phase I, preparation for unit-compliance and health-services inspections, and builds the biggest fighter wing in the Air Force Reserve, comprised of: The 476th Fighter Group, Moody AFB, Ga.; the 917th Wing, Barksdale AFB, La.; the 924th Fighter Wing, Davis-Montham AFB, Ariz.; and the 610th Intelligence Operations Flight, Offutt AFB, Neb.

"If there is a challenge ahead of us, it's me," Colonel Overturf said. "The only obstacle is time for me to get adjusted, but I don't expect it to take very long for me to get my feet on the ground."

Colonel Overturf said he is looking forward to resuming where Colonel Clemons left off and hopes to propel the 442nd FW to the next level.

"My wife, Karla, and I are so excited about being here at the best job in the Air Force Reserve, and I feel very lucky to have it," Colonel Overturf said.

Lt. Col. Michael Wood, 442nd Maintenance Group commander, served with the commander in a smaller organization at Elmendorf AFB and said he embraces the new wing commander's leadership style.

"We can expect him to be very active with the community as well as Team Whiteman," Colonel Wood said. "Colonel Overturf is huge on total-force integration, which helps us all to get better."

The Air Force Reserve maintains a tradition of superiority in an ever-changing world, and the 442nd FW has experienced a superior change in the midst of an excellent tradition.


A-10s head to hot pits

by Senior Airman Kenny Holston
509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

1/17/2011 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Dec. 8, 2010 the 442nd Fighter Wing air reserve technicians and 509th Bomb Wing Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels operators here worked together to conduct hot pit refuels on the A-10 Thunderbolt II.

During hot-pit refuels, the A-10s land for a short period of time, and prior to their second take off, they refuel. Hot-pit refueling is a procedure usually performed in a combat situation to rapidly refuel aircraft while the engines are running, resulting in a speedy refuel to thrust pilots back into the fight.

The mission of the A-10 is close-air support. The wing's most recent deployment was to Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan in 2008. The pilots, maintainers and support personnel must maintain combat readiness at all times, so training such as this is important to the preparedness of the wing.

Tech. Sgt. Dewayne Magnuson, 442nd Fighter Wing Air Reserve technician, and Senior Airman James White, 509th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels operator, work together to perform a hot pit refuel on a 442nd Fighter Wing A-10 Thunderbolt II, Dec. 8. Hot pit refueling is a procedure usually performed in a combat situation to rapidly refuel aircraft while their engines are running resulting in a speedy refuel to thrust pilots right back into the fight. The 442nd Air Reserve technicians practice this procedure to keep their skills sharp. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kenny Holston) Hi-res


Note: More related pictures will be uploaded soon.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Video: A-10 pilots keeping it safe in Afghanistan

Video by Scott Schonauer (Stars and Stripes), taken in May 2008 at Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan: 81st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron from Spangdahlem AB, Germany.


Common goals

Cadet First Class Kevin Fogler, a senior and receiver for the U.S. Air Force Academy Falcons, tries his hand at the 917th Wing's A-10 simulator at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. Dec. 23, 2010. Cadet Fogler and several other cadets made a visit to the simulator after a luncheon with local civic leaders and servicemembers at the Barksdale Club. The USAFA cadets were in town for the Advocare V 100 Independence Bowl, where they squared off against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The USAFA Falcons won the contest 14-7. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeff Walston) Hi-res

by Lt. Col. Joseph C. Jones
Commander, 93rd Bomb Squadron

1/7/2011 - Barksdale AFB, La. -- When the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets matched up against the United States Air Force Academy Fighting Falcons in the Advocare V100 Independence Bowl, it represented the culmination of post-season play for two outstanding centers of higher learning. No doubt, it was a hard fought game between two fine athletic programs; but, when it comes to the defense of this nation, Georgia Tech and the United States Air Force are avowed partners in the current conflict.

In modern warfare, situational awareness is everything. In combat SA is simple in its requirements and very complex in its execution. Distilled down to its most simple components, it is simply knowing where you are and where the enemy is located.

Georgia Tech, in conjunction with the United States Air Force, has collaborated in the development of Portable Flight Planning Software and Falcon View map overlay. Portable Flight Planning Software is the primary mission planning system for development of routes and tactical plans for combat operations. The software is used by a wide range of Air Force operators from F-16 fighter jets to B-52 bombers. Indeed, most combat aviators in the Air Force are user's of this combat planning system.

Falcon View adds the map overlay and provides a moving map display for most common tactical charts, maps and satellite imagery. For a combat operator, it's simple, when he views the mission on Falcon View in the aircraft, he sees his aircraft track along the planned route of flight on a real-time map overlay much like an airborne version of commonly used global positioning systems (GPS) for automobiles that have become almost indispensible in modern life.

The Independence Bowl has been an annual event in the Shreveport Bossier area since 1976. On several occasions, the 917 Wing, which consists of A-10 Thunderbolt II fighter jets and B-52 Stratofortress bombers, has provided the flyby for the opening ceremonies for the event. This flyby was special in that the crew and aircraft are all combat veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The crew and even the aircraft were handpicked to participate in this special occasion. The aircraft is the famed "SAC TIME" and the history of her nose art can be traced back to the 1940s!

When the B-52 Stratofortress "SAC TIME" made her debut before the Advocare V100 Independence Bowl crowd Dec. 27, 2010, her crew was using Portable Flight Planning Software and Falcon View developed by Georgia Tech to execute the flyby for the stadium crowd and countless viewers on ESPN 2.

"SAC TIME" was built in 1961, and is aircraft 61-1029. She saw combat in Operation Enduring Freedom and has participated in every major combat operation in the Afghanistan Theater of Operation.

A "politically correct" version of World War II nose art that adorned the nose of B-17 bombers in the European Theater is visible on the nose of "SAC TIME." Her dedicated crew-chief, Master Sgt. Robert Slansky, selected "SAC TIME" as the nose art for his aircraft and modeled his wife for this historic depiction. "SAC TIME" carries 18 "Tomahawks" on her nose to mark the number of times she pressed the attack against our terrorist enemies.

The crew for the flyby was chosen to mirror the demographics of the current combat air forces and represents the Total Force Enterprise - the Regular Air Force and the Air Force Reserve servicemembers, who work side-by-side on a daily basis at Barksdale AFB.

Colonel Keith Schultz, 307th Operations Group commander, was joined by Lt. Col. Joseph "Doc" Jones, commander, 93rd Bomb Squadron, Lt. Col. Denis Heinz, assistant director of operations, 93d BS, Lt. Col. Chris Talbot, radar navigator instructor, Maj. Sam Smith, an 11th Bomb Squadron B-52 flight instructor, and Capt. Timothy Pierce, senior instructor radar navigator, who is also with the 11th BS.

When a crowd of football fans see an aircraft above their stadium, it could not have been possible without the work of dedicated Airman on the ground. Their support of flying operations makes it all possible. The crew chiefs for "SAC TIME" were Tech. Sgt. Jessie Brouillette and Senior Airman Teddie Hardy. The launch crew for this particular event was Sergeant Brouillette, and Staff Sgt. Jermey Vickers. Sergeants Brouillette and Vickers are Reservists assigned to the 917th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, while Airman Hardy is a Regular Air Force servicemember from the 2nd Bomb Wing Airman working with the 917th AMXS.

Assisting in the coordination of the flyby were Senior Airmen Aaron Kimmel and Sean Mitchell, who are Joint Terminal Attack Controllers, assigned to Det 1, 20th Air Support Operations Squadron, and Senior Airman Matt Roberts, who is a JTAC with the 122nd ASOS at Camp Beauregard, La.

This year's crowd at the Advocare V100 Independence Bowl will have a lot of memories to tuck away for years to come. They may remember the roar of the B-52 Stratofortress as it performed a flyby before the kick off. They may remember the USAFA interception that shut down the final Georgia drive with 14 seconds left on the clock. They may just remember a brisk winter evening in Shreveport, La., spent with family or friends watching the U.S. Air Force Academy's 14-7 win over Georgia Tech. But, for some it will be the memory of two college football teams who came together one day for battle. And, still for others it will be the memory of two colleges who came together to help battle our nation's enemies.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force visits D-M

Released by 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs:

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. - Senior Airman Jan-Michael Wampler, an A-10 Crew Chief from the 355th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, briefs Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Roy at the A-10 Phase hangar here Jan. 12. Airman Wampler explains the duties and challenges crew chief's face on a daily basis. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jerilyn Quintanilla) Hi-res

Note: Pictured is A-10 81-0970. Please take a closer look on the crew inscriptions:

Capt. Jennie Schoeck (a female pilot), TSgt. Lawrence Crayton (probably the dedicated crew chief), A1C Gregory Mitchell (probably the assistant crew chief). Please also note all of the opened panels. And: There's no ladder door art.

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. - Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Roy speaks to Airmen from the 355th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at the A-10 Phase hangar here Jan. 12. Chief Roy spoke of the challenges facing our Air Force today. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jerilyn Quintanilla) Hi-res

Note: Pictured is A-10 81-0970.

Related news story (but without any A-10 info): CMSAF visits Davis-Monthan Airmen

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Beacon Live online base newspaper gets its own website

By Joachim Jacob

The Beacon Live, the official newsletter of the Idaho Air National Guard's 124th Wing at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho, is now available on a new website .

An amazing view of one of the Idaho Air National Guard's hangars, with two A-10s on display and hundreds of gathered servicemembers.

Let me try this new official source for additional info.

After deactivating the 917th Wing at Barksdale the A-10C mission will continue with the 917th Fighter Group

By Joachim Jacob

As announced already some weeks ago, on January 8, 2011, the 917th Wing at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, was deactivated. During the related ceremonies the 307th Bomb Wing (as a B-52 Stratofortress unit) was reactivated, and the 917th Operations Group was re-designated as the 917th Fighter Group - an A-10C unit.

Let me present the latest official news:

917th heritage continues as fighter group

by Tech. Sgt. Jeff Walston
307th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

1/13/2011 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- When the 917th Wing was deactivated here Jan. 8, it did not signal the end of the 917th designation because the wing's 917th Operations Group was re-designated as the 917th Fighter Group.

In a ceremony presided over by Lt. Gen. Charles E. Stenner Jr., commander of Air Force Reserve Command, the flag of the 917th Fighter Group was uncased, formally re-designating it as an A-10 Thunderbolt II unit.

Col. Eric Overturf, commander of the 442nd Fighter Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., accepted the new flag from General Stenner. The new fighter group is now part of the 442nd FW.

"I'm proud to be your commander," said Colonel Overturf to the Airmen of the 917th FG. "Make no mistake ... you can rest assured when the nation calls on the 917th for airpower, we'll answer the call, and we'll be ready."

The 917th Wing flag was furled and encased, thus signifying the end of the wing's mission and serving as a final symbol of closure for all those, past and present, who were a part of the wing.

The A-10 close-air-support aircraft previously assigned to the 917th WG will remain at Barksdale. The fighter group will be assigned to the 442nd Fighter Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., and will be gained by Air Combat Command, Langley AFB, Va.

"We're losing the A-10s to Whiteman, but they'll still be here. We will still support them, but we are focusing on the bombers," said Brig. Gen. John J. Mooney III, 307th Bomb Wing commander and former commander of the 917th Wing.

The 917th Wing started in 1963 at Barksdale as a troop carrier. General Stenner noted that its lineage has changed over the years, but the unit has never deactivated. He said members of the unit past and present can be proud of what they have achieved and will continue to achieve.


307th Bomb Wing reactivates at Barksdale

by Tech. Sgt. Jeff Walston
307th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

1/12/2011 - Barksdale AFB, La. -- A crowd of more than 900 witnessed Lt. Gen. Charles E. Stenner Jr., commander of Air Force Reserve Command, preside over ceremonies deactivating the 917th Wing, re-designating the 917th Operations Group as the 917th Fighter Group and reactivating of the 307th Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base, Jan. 8, 2011.

Brig. Gen. John J. Mooney III, commander, 307th Bomb Wing, accepted the wing's colors from the presiding officer and in doing so accepted the charge of leading the members of his command and upholding the unit's honor and traditions, as well as the mission of the new Air Force Reserve wing.

General Mooney said he was thankful for the opportunity he has been given to lead the AFRC and 10th Air Force in strengthening the nuclear enterprise of this great nation.

"The 307th Bomb Wing is first and foremost a combat wing with a sole focus on strategic nuclear deterrence and global strike. We will embrace 'Deter and Assure.' At our heart will be a culture of rigorous compliance and continued dedication to excellence," General Mooney said.

The new Air Force Reserve wing will also focus on B-52 aircrew training and the bombing mission.

The 307th Bomb Wing was activated as the 307th Bombardment Group (Heavy) in 1942. The unit was deactivated on Sept. 30, 1975, after the end of the Vietnam War.

The 307th BW will report to the Tenth Air Force, Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base, Ft. Worth, Texas, and will be gained by the Air Force Global Strike Command. Headquarters Air Force at the Pentagon directed these new actions in support of AFGSC which is also located at Barksdale and will oversee Air Force nuclear weapons training and operations at the new unit.

Scattered through the audience at Hoban Hall for the reactivation ceremony were approximately 40 alumni of the 307th Bomb Wing from the Korean, Vietnam and Cold War eras. Most traveled many miles to witness the reactivation.

"I expected this would be my last great adventure," said Master Sgt. (Ret) Loren Longman, an 88 year-old veteran of the 307th, who traveled from Tampa, Fla., by car. "It was my honor to be a part of the reactivation."

To show the alumni how their heritage will be kept alive, they were escorted through the 307th BW headquarters building where historic artifacts and photos are prominently displayed throughout the hallways. Many of the veterans expressed their gratitude for the unexpected briefings at B-52 and A-10 displays after the ceremonies.

"Today we are in the company of patriots, hero's, members of the greatest generation ... the legacy of the 307th Bomb Wing is legendary, from Wake Island to Rabaul - YAP - TRUK - PALAU - BALIKAN - 5,800 SORTIES OVER KOREA AND ARC LIGHT SORTIES DURING VIETNAM. We are honored to have been chosen to continue this great heritage," said General Mooney.

As General Mooney concluded his remarks, he looked out into the audience and spoke to the men and women of the 917th FG and 307th BW.

"In you, I see the highly disciplined and elite team of citizen Airmen who are undertaking this mission, fully understanding the special trust and responsibility placed on us by our nation for the most powerful weapons in its arsenal. Thank you for your commitment and service. I know you will make the two organizations that stood up here today the finest in the AFRC and the U.S. Air Force ... Thank you."

Lt. Gen. Charles E. Stenner Jr., commander of the Air Force Reserve Command, presents the 307th Bomb Wing flag to Brig. Gen. John J. Mooney III, during reactivation ceremonies at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Jan. 8, 2011. During the same ceremonies, the 917th Operations Group was re-designated as the 917th Fighter Group and the 917th Wing was deactivated. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Travis Robertson) Hi-res


The Shreveport Times reported:

Wings shift at Barksdale Air Force Base

By John Andrew Prime • • January 9, 2011

A week of historic changes at Barksdale Air Force Base ended Saturday with formalities.

On Jan. 1, the 917th Wing deactivated after 47 years as the Reserve component on the base, and the 307th Bomb Wing stood up in its place. The names and numbers changed then on the base's gates and atop Hoban Hall, but it was inside that hall Saturday where the formalities that mattered took place in front of an honor section of 307th veterans and today's men and women who make up the unit.

"It has been a week to remember here at Shreveport-Barksdale Air Force Base, has it not?" said Air Force Reserve chief Lt. Gen. Charles E. Stenner Jr., who spoke without notes or a teleprompter for 12 minutes before a crowd that included leadership of Air Force Global Strike Command, 2nd Bomb Wing and local communities, as well as representatives of 8th Air Force and U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu's office.
The flag-furling and unfurling ceremonies marked the final separation of powers and assets on units at the base as part of the Air Force focusing its attention on its nuclear mission.

With the changes formalized Saturday, the bombers that had been under the 917th Wing now work with the 307th as part of the reinvigorated nuclear enterprise spearheaded by Global Strike Command. The A-10 fighters of the 917th Wing now will fly under the 917th Fighter Group here, but under the command of the 442nd Fighter Wing of Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.

"Those are not just numbers," said Col. Eric S. Overturf, the 442nd's commander. "Those units, the history that we see here, that legacy of valor, is what gives us something to work for in the Air Force today."

It streamlines operations, he said. "All of the A-10s in the Air Force Reserve Command are going to be brought together in one unit. All will come under a single command."

In addition to the revised lines of command, the mission of the tough, speedy fighters here also will change, he said.

"For those of you out there in BDUs, you'll be going into combat, there's no doubt in my mind."

Brig. Gen. John J. Mooney III, who in the one ceremony relinquished command of the 917th Wing as it deactivated and assumed command of the 307th Bomb Wing, noted that his new unit "is first and foremost a combat wing ... with a sole focus on strategic nuclear deterrence and global strike. At our heart will be a culture of rigorous compliance and continued dedication to excellence."

In addition, he said, "we will continue to partner with the 2nd Bomb Wing to provide first and foremost combat capability and secondly the very best trained and prepared bomber aircrews in the world."

Stenner noted the proud histories of the units involved, and noted their transition over the decades, as well as the Air Force Reserve, in response to changing threats and defense needs.

"We evolve. We make happen the things that need to happen," he said. "I believe that there is no better place that we could do this that right here at Barksdale."


Editorial: Further evidence that Barksdale means jobs

January 5, 2011

News this week out of Barksdale further emphasizes the important role the Air Force base plays in the nation's defense, in general, and in its nuclear mission, in particular.

Splitting off the 917th Wing's B-52 bomber components and putting them in the reactivated 307th Bomb Wing under the supervision of locally headquartered Global Strike Command further streamlines the command structure of the United States' nuclear defense program and brings to Barksdale an enlarged mission to train B-52 crews.

The move also is significant in that it marks the Air Force Reserve Command's first venture into the U.S. nuclear enterprise, Brig. Gen. John Mooney, commander of the 917th Wing, told The Times.

The restructuring also further underlines the fact that Barksdale means jobs, and local jobs at that. That's critical when the unemployment remains high — 7.3 percent in Shreveport-Bossier City Metropolitan Statistical Area and 9.8 percent nationally in November.

It's good news that the A-10 fighters and personnel of the historic 47th Fighter Squadron will physically remain at Barksdale — meaning no job loss — despite the fact that they will be part of the new 917th Fighter Group, which will fall under the command of the 442nd Fighter Wing in Missouri.

In fact, as a result of splitting the 917th Wing's B-52 bomber and A-10 fighter components — which occurred Saturday and will be publicly marked Saturday with the furling of one set of flags and the unfurling of another, Shreveport-Bossier City has gained about 20 jobs over the past few months and will see 65 to 70 more full-time positions in the near future.

Those numbers are not near the 950 to 1,000 jobs created by Global Strike Command, But the economic impact of the restructuring will be further enhanced by another 160 or so personnel who will serve a weekend a month here.

Under the 307th Bomb Wing, the 343rd Bomb Squadron has brought in the equivalent of about five crews plus a commander and support forces. The new associated 707th Maintenance Squadron will mean 230 new billets, including the 65 to 70 full-timers in need of housing, etc.

The remaining 160 or so weekend-only personnel also will need housing — at least temporary lodging in hotels and motels — and will bring associated spending. Some of those, in turn, could decide they could do their civilian jobs here just as easily and opt to move to the Shreveport-Bossier City area as well.

"It's a huge week for Team Barksdale," Mooney proclaimed. And for Shreveport-Bossier City, we might add.


The Bossier Press-Tribune reported:

Barksdale wing deactivates, reactivates

Tuesday, 04 January 2011 15:43 Press-Tribune Staff News - Military News

Bossier Press-Tribune

BARKSDALE AFB, La. - The 917th Wing at Barksdale officially deactivated, Jan. 1, and reactivated as the 307th Bomb Wing.

At the same time, the 917th Fighter Group activated and provide support to the 47th Fighter Squadron.

The official ceremony will be held on Jan. 8 at 2 p.m., Hoban Hall, Barksdale AFB, La.

The 917th Wing was originally formed as the 917th Troop Carrier Group on Jan 17, 1963, at Barksdale, equipped with the C-124 Globemaster II. In 1971, the unit changed from the C-124 to the A-37 Dragonfly, and then the A-10 Thunderbolt II, in 1983.

In 1993, the 917th Wing added the B-52 to their A-10s and became a dual aircraft Wing. As one of the largest Wing's in the Air Force Reserve Command, their mission was to equip, train and employ combat capable aircraft and aircrews in support of theater commanders' war plans.

The 307th Bomb Wing reactivation will bring a new mission to train B-52 aircrew to employ the B-52 in combat. The A-10s will remain at Barksdale, but fall under the 442nd Fighter Wing, 917th Fighter Group, Whiteman AFB, Mo.

Air Force Reserve Command's leadership decided to activate the 307th Bomb Wing for the B-52 mission areas, and re-designate the 917th Fighter Group to accomplish the A-10 support requirements.

"Due to the formal training unit in support of B-52 operations between AFRC's 917th Wing and Global Strike Command's 2nd Bomb Wing, there was a necessity to change the focus of the 917th from both bomber and fighter to bomber only," said Brig. Gen. John J. Mooney III, current 917th Wing commander and new 307th Bomb Wing commander. "The U.S. nuclear arsenal forms the ultimate backstop of our nation's strategic defense - deterring potential adversaries and reassuring allies. Activating the 307th will make a more effective and efficient organization that leverages the unique strengths of the bomber force at Barksdale as we form a more cohesive and effectivecombat wing."


Official 917th Wing background info (archived)

The 917th is a composite wing which operates both the A-10A Thunderbolt II and the B-52H Stratofortress. Located at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., the Wing employs approximately 1,600 Air Force Reserve personnel. The mission of the 47th Fighter Squadron is to train student pilots to fly the A-10. The primary mission of the 93rd Bomb Squadron is to conduct strategic heavy bombardment and maritime operations in the B-52.

The 917th Wing was originally formed as the 917th Troop Carrier Group on Jan. 17, 1963, at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., and was assigned to the 435th Troop Carrier Wing. Its mission was to administer and support its assigned 78th Troop Carrier Squadron, which was equipped with C-124s.

On July 1, 1963, both the group and squadron were reassigned to the 442nd Troop Carrier Wing because their new gaining command, Military Air Transport Service, wanted all five Air Force Reserve C-124 Groups assigned to the same wing. The units were reassigned to the 512th Troop Carrier Wing on March 25, 1965.

Reflecting similar changes in the active force, the 917th was re-designated twice -- to the 917th Air Transport Group in 1965, and then to the 917th Military Airlift Group in 1966. The 917th Military Airlift Group was awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for its exceptional safety record of more than 55,000 accident-free flying hours and global support missions.

As the A-37 Dragonfly conversion began on April 13, 1971, the group was reassigned to the 434th Special Operations Wing. On April 26, 1972, the unit was re-designated the 917th Special Operations Group, with Tactical Air Command as the gaining major air command.

As the hardware and missions changed, the unit was re-designated the 917th Tactical Fighter Group on October 1, 1973. The 78th Troop Carrier Squadron was subsequently deactivated and replaced by the 47th Tactical Fighter Squadron.

Assigned to the 434th Tactical Fighter Wing at Grissom Air Force Base, Ind., the 917th reached combat-ready status 45 days ahead of schedule and garnered honors as the first fighter group in the Air Force Reserve to achieve this distinction.

When the A-37B Dragonfly was eventually phased out, the group converted to the A-10 Thunderbolt II airframe. The 917 TFG assumed replacement-training responsibilities on October 1, 1983. This ultimately led to the creation of the 46th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron, in addition to the 926th Tactical Fighter Group in New Orleans, La.

Due to Air Force restructuring in June 1992, Tactical Air Command was combined with Strategic Air Command to form Air Combat Command. The 917th Tactical Fighter Wing joined Air Combat Command and "Tactical" was dropped from its name.

On Oct. 1, 1993, the 917th Fighter Wing saw important changes once again. The 46th Fighter Training Squadron was deactivated when the active-duty Air Force took control of all fighter replacement training. On this same day, the 917th became the first unit in Air Force Reserve history to acquire a strategic mission: B-52s were added to the wing make-up and the 93rd Bomb Squadron was activated. Now a composite wing, the 917th dropped "Fighter" from its name and became the 917th Wing.

In December 1993, the wing deployed its aircraft, personnel and equipment to Aviano Air Base, Italy, to support the United Nations' no-fly rule over Bosnia-Herzegovina. Dubbed "Operation Deny Flight," the 917th returned to Aviano Air Base in August 1994 and again in May 1995 to uphold the U.N. ban on military flights in the Bosnia-Herzegovina airspace.

In November 1995, the 917th Wing was awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, for exceptionally meritorious service during deployments to support Operation Deny Flight and successfully converting a fighter unit to the Reserve's first heavy bomber unit. Oct. 7, 1996, marked the return of pilot training to the 917th as the 47th Fighter Squadron became an A-10 replacement-training unit.

The Wing again received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award in December 1999, primarily for winning the Chief of Staff Team Excellence Award and Secretary of Defense Award for the Self-Inspection Tracking System. The award also noted the unit's sponsorship of the STARBASE program. Which creates interest in math, science, and technology by using an aviation theme. Also, that year the 917th Maintenance Squadron won the Maintenance Effectiveness Award.

In September 2000 the Wing again won the Chief of Staff Team Excellence Award for the Smart Pay Tracking System.

The 917th Wing hosts one other Reserve unit at Barksdale: Detachment 1, 307th Civil Engineering Squadron, RED HORSE (Rapid Engineering Deployable, Heavy Operational Repair Squadron, Engineer).

In September 2001, the 93rd Bomb Squadron received war-tasking orders and deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. At the same time security policemen, firefighters, maintenance personnel and various other personnel from the 917th Wing were also activated in support of Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and NOBLE EAGLE.

In September 2002, the 93rd Bomb Squadron returned home from a forward operating area and activated reservists were demobilized. In March 2003, approximately 250 personnel from the 917th Wing mobilized again to support the war on terrorism through Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM. They deployed in support of Central, European, and Pacific Commands.

In August 2003, Wing personnel returned to Barksdale where they remain operation ready to support and defend. In December 2003 the Wing was again awarded the Outstanding Unit Award for their participation in the war against terrorism for the period 1 Oct 01 - 1 Aug 03.

In January 2005, the 917th Wing deployed six B-52 and approximately 300 personnel to Anderson AFB, Guam as part of a 60-day Air and Space Expeditionary Force rotation to demonstrate U.S. commitment to the Asian-Pacific region.

In 2006 under Base Realignment and Closure the 917 WG gained eight A-10 aircraft and a number of full-time and part-time positions.

In December 2007, the 917th Wing Command Post merged with the 2d Bomb Wing Command Post to become one integrated force, called the Barksdale Command Post as part of the total force concept.

In 2008, the 917th Civil Engineers Squadron became part of a test program for integrating active duty and reserve civil engineers to include the Readiness Flight called the ECS Test Program.

In December 2008, the 93rd Bomb Squadron won top honors at the five day Buff Smoke competition held at Barksdale. They won four out of the five top award; Best Squadron, Best Crew, Best Aircraft Maintenance Unit, and Best Crew Chief Awards.

(Current as of January 2009)

Monday, January 10, 2011

122nd Fighter Wing gets new commander

By Joachim Jacob

Updated January 11, 2011

Colonel David L. Augustine assumed command of the 122nd Fighter Wing (Michigan Air National Guard) at Selfridge ANGB January 8, 2011. Col. Augustine most recently served as the Vice Wing Commander. He's a Command Pilot with over 3500 flying hours in numerous aircraft to include the A-10A/C, F-4D/E, RF-4C, KC-135 A/E/R, T-38 and T-37 aircraft. Col. Augustine is a combat veteran having flown 24 combat sorties during the opening air campaign in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) while serving 6 months at Ahmed al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait (as part of the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing). In addition, he flew multiple combat support sorties in the KC-135 during both the Bosnia and Kosovo campaigns.

Col. Augustine replaced Brigadier General Michael "Pep" Peplinski

The 127th Wing's 107th Fighter Squadron is still in the process to transfer from the F-16 Fighting Falcon ("Viper") to the A-10C.

Wane-TV reported:

Col. David Augustine takes over at 122nd Fighter Wing

Updated: Saturday, 08 Jan 2011, 10:18 PM EST
Published : Saturday, 08 Jan 2011, 10:18 PM EST

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - The 122nd Fighter Wing recognized its new commander in a ceremony Saturday afternoon.

Col. David Augustine is the next commander.

Several distinguished military officials came to Saturday's Change of Command Ceremony in the Wing's aircraft shelter. There was a formal military ceremony, including the exchange of the Wing flag.

Col. Augustine most recently served as the Vice Wing Commander at the 127th Wing, Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Michigan.

"Taking the command of a Wing is like the culmination of a career. The 122nd Fighter Wing is an amazing wing to take command of. There's just great people [here]," Augustine said.

Augustine has more than 3,500 flying hours. He is a combat veteran and has flown in Iraq, Bosnia and Kosovo.


Related video, released by News Channel 15:

Latest official biography:

Colonel David L. Augustine's latest offical biography

Update January 11, 2011:

The News-Sentinel wrote:

Changing of the Guard: 122nd gets new commander

By Lisa Esquivel Long of The News-Sentinel

Last updated: Tue. Jan. 11, 2011 - 10:15 am EDT

One of the biggest challenges facing the new commander and the 122nd Fighter Wing is the Air National Guard unit's conversion to the A-10 aircraft.

Col. David L. Augustine, of Grosse Pointe, Mich., addressed the airmen Saturday at a change of command ceremony at Baer Field. Augustine replaces retiring Col. Jeffrey A. Soldner, who had served as wing commander since 2004. Attendees included Indiana National Guard Adjutant Gen. Martin Umbarger, representatives of U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-3rd) and relatives of Umbarger, Augustine and Soldner.

With the unit's F-16 jets approaching an earlier than expected demise, and not enough money to sustain them, the unit replaced them with the older, bulkier A-10. The longer lifespan of the A-10 will carry the unit over until about 2020.

Spokeswoman 1st Lt. Rebecca M. Metzger said, "It will cover the gap between when we retired our F-16s and when the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter becomes available to the Air National Guard."

Receipt of the planes reportedly saved 200-300 jobs. The unit has about 1,000 members, with 345 employed full time, Metzger said. The unit has 13 planes at Baer Field, next to Fort Wayne International Airport.

But switching out the airframes over the past 18 months has meant all new training for pilots and mechanics of the unit, which is known as the Blacksnakes. All the unit's pilots are now certified, Umbarger said.

The unit serves not only on home soil, but its members have been deployed as a group or individually since Sept. 11, 2001, to Afghanistan, Iraq, Antarctica, Canada, Cuba, Qatar and United Arab Emirates; many U.S. locations to help other units; and on homeland defense missions and training exercises, Metzger said.

Soldner recently returned from serving as battle director at the Combined Air Operations Center in Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.

Augustine expressed confidence that the airmen would maintain their outstanding safety record for the unit's pilots and planes and make a timely conversion.

"I need from you … your best attitude," Augustine told the assembled airmen.

"I'm honored to be your new wing commander," he told them.

Umbarger lauded Soldner' service not only to the unit but also for his 39 years with the Guard. "I've never seen him make a decision (on) what's best for Jeff Soldner, but for what's best for the wing."

During his 39 years in the Guard, the last six have flown by, Soldner said. He applauded the unit's ability to adjust to the new airframe, but one that is 20 years old, significantly older than any it has worked with before.

"I wish you godspeed in all your future tasks," he told the airmen before the ceremonial handing back of the flag of the unit to Umbarger, who passed it to Augustine.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Irregular noise, flight patterns expected at D-M

Released by 355th Wing Public Affairs:

Release Number: 010111

1/4/2011 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Aircraft noise may be more noticeable than usual and flight patterns may appear irregular in comparison to normal air activities conducted at D-M Jan. 5 and 6 due to F-16 and A-10 demonstration team practices.

The F-16 demo team practices Jan. 5 from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. and the A-10 demo team practices Jan. 6 from 12:40 p.m. to 1:10 p.m. Also, an F-16 certification flight is scheduled Jan. 6 from 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Demonstration team practices allow pilots to exercise the skills and tactics necessary to showcase the Air Force's superiority in the skies.

For any questions or public concerns, contact the 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs office at (520) 228-3378.


Super Saber Performer

by 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

1/7/2011 - SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- Super Saber Performer

Name: Staff Sgt. Michael A. Hughes

Unit: 52nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron

Duty title: Weapons load team chief

Hometown: Gahanna, Ohio

Years in Service: Nine

Why joined: Service to country, school and travel

Family: Five-year-old son, Patrick, and four-year-old daughter, Myra

Hobbies: Traveling and anything outdoors

Favorite aspect of job: Mentoring young Airmen!

Most memorable Air Force experience: The day I made Staff Sergeant.

How do you make responsible choices: I learn from other peoples' mistakes so I don't make them. I always have a plan, stick to that plan and then execute! When all else fails I always talk to my section leadership; they've never let me down!

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany - Staff Sgt. Michael A. Hughes, 52nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron weapons load team chief, is the Super Saber performer for the week of Jan. 7 - 13. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nick Wilson) Hi-res

Sunday, January 2, 2011

451st AEW closes out strong year in Kandahar

by Senior Airman Melissa B. White
451st Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

1/1/2011 - KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- As they wrap up their first calendar year of existence, the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, has a lot to reflect upon and expectations to live up to as they move into 2011.

"The men and women of the 451st AEW continue to amaze me and exceed expectations on a daily basis," said Brig. Gen. Paul Johnson, 451st AEW commander. "With their professionalism and dedication, our mission has a powerful effect assisting our ground commanders in the AOR where they need it most. I'm confident that the new year will bring new challenges, but our Airmen will find better and more efficient ways to overcome these challenges, proving we are still the world's greatest air force."

The wing, which was stood up July 2, 2009, is very diverse and supports a wide range of missions ranging from airlift and close air support to rescue and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Their mission is to provide a persistent and powerful presence of airpower using seven types of aircraft.

"Let there be no doubt that this is a demanding combat environment - we work hard, long hours and we are challenged - but the time goes quickly and this deployment is the experience of a lifetime," the general tells 451st AEW Airmen in his welcome letter. "Done right, our mission will enable the Afghan government to provide internal security with limited international support. We will also disrupt and destroy terrorist networks in Afghanistan, degrading any ability to plan and launch international terrorist attacks."

After transforming from a group to a wing in 2009, there was a large growth of U.S. Air Force presence in Kandahar. However, the wing continued to grow and flourish in 2010 growing to nearly 2,000 Airmen during late summer due to the surge of forces.

Along with the growth in numbers of people, the wing also grew in other ways. They started out the year by standing up a contingency aeromedical staging facility and aeromedical evacuation team at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Civil engineers teamed up with Slovakian Armed Forces to build a new passenger terminal for the entire airfield here. Communications Airmen ran thousands of miles of cable to support new and expanding Air Force units at Camp Bastion. In March, the wing also stood up the new aeromedical evacuation squadron at Kandahar Airfield. In the same month, they welcomed the wing's newest airframe: the MC-12 Liberty, a manned special-mission turboprop aircraft designed for ISR.

As the year continued, a new rescue unit was activated at Camp Bastion, putting the HC-130P Combat Kings back in business in Afghanistan for the first time in years. Maintainers, who are caring for the 45-year-old aircraft, are credited with keeping the aircraft in operation nearly 90 percent of the time - a feat for the 1965 models.

While some Airmen were busy flying and rescuing, security forces and other Airmen in the wing played a vital role in defending the base during two ground attacks, one in May and the other in August. Also in August, the C-130 Hercules crews set a record by making historic contributions in the area of responsibility by conducting combat airdrop missions and delivering more than 8.5 million pounds of supplies to troops at forward operating bases during a 16-month period. That same month, munitions Airmen also stepped up their production of munitions supporting the busy close air support mission, ultimately protecting troops and Afghans from enemy forces on the ground.

Later in the year, aeromedical evacuation Airmen worked with Afghan Air Force counterparts to complete their first joint effort of patient movement. Medics also continued to work with the Afghans on an ongoing basis while many other Airmen supported them in other ways, including celebrating the Kandahar Air Wing's first birthday with them. Members of the 451st Honor Guard also worked with the Afghans as they developed their own honor guard - a first for the Afghan forces.

The year continued with some other events. In October, the weather flight kept things on the base running smoothly as they kept everyone informed of the first rain in more than five months, and the only rain since. The A-10 Thunderbolt II Airmen stepped up their operations in October and November to support an increasing amount of requests for support from ground forces; they expended more munitions in those two months alone than the A-10 units for the wing collectively discharged in the previous 15 months. In November, the pararescuemen at Camp Bastion brought back the ability to administer blood on rescue missions, saving lives within days of approval due to the enhancement.

Throughout the year, all the flying units under the wing collectively flew nearly 37,000 sorties, supporting more than 1,000 troops in contact on the ground, and saving close to 2,000 people on rescue missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

"To watch a basic aircrew on their second mission in the theater conduct a nighttime airdrop to a special operations team deep in contested territory with a drop that was on target in a tight landing zone within two seconds of the requested timing, simply amazed me. To go on to watch a fighter squadron and all of the associated maintenance move their entire operation to another location while continuing to fly out a combat air tasking order is incredible to say the least," said Chief Master Sgt. Antonio Hickey, 451st AEW command chief. "There is no other place I would rather be than serving shoulder-to-shoulder with each of you as we defend America and help the Afghans secure their country."

With 2010 at a close, the Airmen have come a long way and raised the bar high, but will be challenged to stay strong and to continue raising the standards as they support the base in the new year.

An A-10C Thunderbolt II pilot lands at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan Sept. 27, 2010. Throughout 2010, all the flying units under the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing collectively flew nearly 37,000 sorties, supporting more than 1,000 troops in contact on the ground, and saving close to 2,000 people on rescue missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The 75th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron is deployed from Moody Air Force Base, Ga. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Chad Chisholm) Hi-res

Note: It's A-10C 80-0208 from the 75th Fighter Squadron, arriving Kandahar Airfield after the last deployment stopover at Al Udeid AB, Qatar. This Hog is deployed with the 75th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron (75th EFS).


Please note:

"The A-10 Thunderbolt II Airmen stepped up their operations in October and November to support an increasing amount of requests for support from ground forces; they expended more munitions in those two months alone than the A-10 units for the wing collectively discharged in the previous 15 months."