The 122nd Fighter Wing (Indiana Air National Guard), Fort Wayne, has completed its conversion to the A-10C Thunderbolt II ("Warthog") and is now at operational capability. Sorry, but for more than three weeks I overlooked all related news media coverage. According to that, this milestone was announced by 122nd FW Public Affairs on June 14, 2012. But I still cant't find any related press release or news article on 122nd FW's official website or Facebook page. Did I miss anything??? And so, at least let me present the known news media stuff:
122nd Fighter Wing completes A-10 conversionBrian Francisco, The Journal Gazette
The Journal Gazette
Last updated: June 14, 2012 4:09 p.m.
The Air National Guard's 122nd Fighter Wing announced Thursday it has completed its conversion to A-10 combat jets.
The switch from F-16 fighters to the A-10s began in early 2009. The Ferguson Road air base is now at "operational capability" -- meaning the A-10 jets can be deployed overseas.
"All personnel are trained and ready to go to combat in the A-10," Capt. Rebecca Metzger, public affairs officer at the base, said in an interview.
Metzger said the 20 planes went through a rigorous inspection process. In the meantime, hundreds of members of the 122nd Fighter Wing have filled vacancies in other units that deployed overseas.
For more on this story, see Friday's print edition of The Journal Gazette or visit www.journalgazette.net after 3 a.m. Friday.
122nd deems Warthog ready 'to go to combat'
Brian Francisco, Washington editor
The Journal Gazette
Last updated: June 15, 2012 1:56 p.m.
FORT WAYNE – The switch from Falcons to Warthogs is finished for the Blacksnakes.
The Air National Guard's 122nd Fighter Wing announced Thursday it has completed its conversion to A-10 Thunderbolt II combat jets, nicknamed Warthogs.
The Air Force-mandated swap of F-16 jets – known as Fighting Falcons – for A-10s began in early 2009.
The Ferguson Road air base is now at "operational capability" – meaning the A-10 jets can be deployed overseas by the unit, whose members are called Blacksnakes.
"All personnel are trained and ready to go to combat in the A-10," said Capt. Rebecca Metzger, public affairs officer at the base.
Metzger said the 20 planes went through rigorous inspections. In the meantime, hundreds of members of the 122nd Fighter Wing have filled vacancies in other A-10 units sent overseas for missions.
"We have not deployed our aircraft. They have been flying for training purposes," Metzger said.
No deployments are scheduled.
The base had flown F-16s since the early 1990s. The A-10 is a plane used by the Air Force since the 1970s to support ground troops, and the Warthog built a reputation as a "tank buster." Its weapons include missiles, bombs and a machine-gun cannon.
The conversion was completed ahead of schedule, wing commander Col. David Augustine said in a written statement.
"This is yet another example of why we are one of the finest fighter wings in the country and need to remain in fighters," Augustine said.
Until recently, it appeared the A-10 would be short-lived at the base. As part of a nationwide cost-cutting plan, the Air Force decided to retire the local jets and replace them with about 10 MC-12W propeller planes used for surveillance and gathering intelligence.
The move would have eliminated 152 jobs at the Fort Wayne operation, where 1,200 people work.
Governors and members of Congress objected to that and numerous other proposed realignments at Air National Guard bases around the country.
The Republican House voted May 18 to freeze aircraft and personnel assignments during fiscal year 2013, and the Democratic Senate's Armed Forces Committee did likewise a week later.
"We're still an A-10 fighter wing," Metzger said. "We're optimistic about the future."
Officials have said the 122nd Fighter Wing ultimately hopes to fly the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter under development.
Conversion from F-16's Complete
122nd Fighter Wing Fully Operational with A-10's
By Scott Sarvay
June 15, 2012
Updated Jun 15, 2012 at 12:22 PM EDT
Fort Wayne, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - The 122nd Fighter Wing is officially done converting its old aircrafts to the newer "A-10-C Thunderbolt II fighters." The conversion was due to the life-span of the older F-16's as well as budget constraints.