By Staff Sgt. Stefanie Torres
51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
5/25/2012 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- An A-10 Thunderbolt II received the chop from 51st Civil Engineer Squadron firefighters after more than 20 years of service on the ground as a training aircraft.
Airmen here saved the Air Force money by breaking down the jet in order to ship it to its final resting place at the Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., aircraft "bone yard."
"We have been using this aircraft for training for a long time but it was time for it to go to the bone yard," said Master Sgt. Jason Passmore, 25th Aircraft Maintenance Unit recovery maintenance unit section chief. "Aircraft like these usually get cut up into several pieces and flown out by contracting officials, but this time our firefighters took the lead."
Decommissioned in 1992, the A-10 served as a platform for weapons load training and fire rescue. Now the U.S. Air Force fighter jet is deemed surplus. Instead of flying out a special team to Osan Air Base, the firefighters here used their equipment to get the job done which, in turn, gave them the training they needed.
"It's a really good experience, especially for the younger guys," said Staff Sgt. Eric Kunzman, 51st CES Fire Emergency Services specialist. "This is not something that we do a whole lot. So to come out here and help maintenance tear this aircraft apart is really good training."
Not only is it considered a great training opportunity, according to Kunzman, it's a great morale booster as well.
"It's definitely a lot more fun than what we would be doing, which is cutting into thin sheet metal or wood. So, this is a lot more challenging," he said. "Most of the aircraft basically have the same type of skin. So to be able to cut into an aircraft allows us to train for a C-17 or C-5."
New firefighters trained on equipment used to cut individuals out of vehicles in emergency situations.
"It's not very often we get to do this kind of stuff, so it's always fun," Kunzman said.
Questions: Anybody who knows the serial number of this "Hog"? Any picture of this aircraft?