Do Not Sacrifice The A-10 Tank Killing Aircraft ~ Video

By Major Van Harl USAF Ret

Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II
Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II
Major Van Harl USAF Ret
Major Van Harl USAF Ret

Wisconsin –-(Ammoland.com)-  When the Army – Air Force broke away from the US Army in 1947, and became the United States Air Force they made one major mistake that they have never figured out how to fix.

They did not bring any Infantry over to the Air Force side, so there could be Soldiers-turned-Airmen to stand with a rifle in their hand and defend an air base.

Back in the olden days airfields were far to the rear of the frontline battlefields. The belief was airfields would not be overrun by enemy ground forces, so why waste valuable Airman-manpower doing Soldier stuff.

My big Air Force felt and still feels that Airmen are there to fly planes, fix broken planes and maybe even stand guard duty to make sure no one steals an aircraft, but you do not waste Airmen defending the Air Force mission on the ground. If it gets that bad just launch all the planes and send them off to safety.

After the Japanese destroyed most of the US air assets on the ground in the Philippines there were a whole lot of Army-Airmen with nothing to do as practicing Airmen. So General MacArthur had these Army aircrew members and maintenance troops issued rifles, bayonets and WWI helmets so they could try to be part-time Infantry when the Japanese Army overran the islands.

Pilots and maintainers did not make good Infantry back in 1942 when they still had the title Army written on their orders. They do even worse now that these modern Airmen really do not see themselves as Soldiers.

So what the Air Force did with the coming of the Korean War, and ever since, was take the “cops” of the Air Force whether they were called Military Police/MP, Air Police/AP, Security Police/SP or Security Forces/SF and declare in time of conflict the “cops” were their Infantry. The “cops” would sort of go into “time-out” as policemen, stop doing police things like writing tickets, responding to calls and investigating crimes to become part-time Soldiers. For thirty years the ground combat training was less than stellar.

In the early 1980s the AF started sending their “cops” to Ft. Benning, Georgia to attend Army Infantry School. As an AF “cop” I attend the Infantry Officer Basic Course and learned how to be an Infantry leader. I took a lot of Bravo Sierra kidding from my fellow Army classmates being only one of three Air Force officers in the class.

They believed and were continued to be taught by the Army instructors that the Air Force was not going to be there for them when the hard times of battle would inevitably come.

However one of our final live-fire exercises was when 200 of my classmates were on a range, firing from M-113 armored tracked vehicles. We were shooting at old tank hauls and truck bodies with 50 caliber machineguns, M-60 machineguns and our M-16 rifles.

Then, some US Air Force A-10 tank killing Warthog aircraft showed up on our firing range, and proceeded to destroy everything sitting in the open down range. All the students stopped firing their weapons and stood in amazement watching.

The A-10s stole the show and our instructors were not happy. They demanded we keep firing our weak little ground weapons as the A-10’s, 30mm GAU-8 Avenger rotary cannon (read big ass Gatling Gun) dominated the battlefield like no one Infantry Soldier ever could. That was thirty plus years ago.

The Air Force was trying to get rid of the A-10 back then and they are still trying. The A-10 is the cheapest combat aircraft in the Air Force to operate. The problem is the A-10 is the only Air Force aircraft solely designed for close air support. That means air-to-ground attacking.

If you’re a fighter pilot, you want to kill Russian made Mig fighters and you cannot do that in an A-10, so the A-10 must be removed from the inventory.

This is a mistake, this is a potentially a criminal mistake. We will be in another shooting war in the deserts of Southwest Asia in the near future, and the A-10 is the King of the ground war fought in “sand.”

I get why AF fighter pilots cannot wait to sacrifice the A-10, what I do not understand is why every Army and Marine Corp Infantry officer and Senior NCO is not writing their congressmen and demanding the A-10 be kept in the Air Force or transferred it to the Army and/or the Marines. The A-10 is an air-to-mud asset that cannot be allowed to disappear. Truly American lives will perish if the A-10 is taken from our future battlefields.

If our senior Air Force leadership refuses to understand this, (I suggest they do understand) then the pressure has to come from elected politicians who need votes. Army Air Defense Artillery has lots of missiles that can bring down enemy planes for a lot less than the cost of one new F-35 fighter aircraft. The Army has however, nothing in their inventory that can protect their Infantry on the ground as well as a Squadron of USAF A-10 Warthogs.

Some day the Air Force will either successfully defend or lose an air base (probably in Poland fighting Russians) and the A-10 will be the pivotal factor. Save the Hogs we will need them soon.

Major Van Harl USAF Ret. /[email protected]

About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.:Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret., a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School.  A retired Colorado Ranger and currently is an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Cudahy PD in Milwaukee County, WI.  His efforts now are directed at church campus safely and security training.  He believes “evil hates organization.”  [email protected]

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TRUTH BE TOLD
TRUTH BE TOLD
6 years ago

Thought I heard they were gonna come home to dhs for “civilian use” or was that used against civilians idk…… no idea where I heard it…

Seanoamericano
Seanoamericano
6 years ago

I disagree with the assumption that airmen didnt make good infantrymen in the Philippines. My Father who was with the 19 Bombardment wing specifically a waist gunner on a B 17 and was drafted into the Army after Clark Field was destroyed. He spent much of his time running from one hole to another trying to show other soldiers how to use the A3O3s. The lack of training and the speed at which the Japanese were advancing only allowed for on the job training. None the less its a shame that our so called leaders would even consider scrapping these… Read more »

Joe
Joe
6 years ago

The A-10 is one of the most amazing aircraft, I saw it demonstrated before it went online and was completely blown away
by its performance and maneuverability . Adding to that it’s a flying weapons platform , hard to kill and better qualified for close Air Support and Tank killing . Nothing else can take it place . When you see how the A-10 can handle things and what it can take and still keep going, I’d be keeping it around. It works.

David: San Antonio
David: San Antonio
6 years ago

I have seen the A-10 in action…both in training and in combat. It is probably the finest close air support aircraft there is. The Apache comes close, but the A-10 is far better. That’s just my opinion…and yes I’ve seen the Apache in action, too. To get rid of the A-10 makes no sense…unless of course…someone is trying to gut or weaken our military and it’s firepower. It has a platform that can be adapted to just about any situation that is called for and can take “hits” like no other.

Grey Beard
Grey Beard
6 years ago

I fervently believe the Air Force should be tasked with ONLY their ICBMs, IRBMs, strategic reconnaissance, strategic (huge) transport, strategic bombers, long range refueling tankers, and the air to air fighters to protect them all and otherwise gain total air supremacy over our enemies. Turn over ALL ground support (A-10 type), local and regional reconnaissance, fighter-bomber aircraft (for the medium range ground support bombing capability), attack helicopters, shorter range (tactical) missile systems, and various and sundry other items AND personnel to be named later. They want to fly the “hot rocks” so much, let them. But the individual troop on… Read more »

Gerald Green
Gerald Green
6 years ago

Maj. Van Harl. I’m Gerald Green and was an Air Police then Security Police for 9.5yrs starting in 1971. I did a tour in Vietnam, but prior to going to Vietnam I had to go to combat school in Lackland AFB, TX. for 6 weeks of intense training prior to going to Vietnam. Upon arrival we were told that we had a price tag on our heads of $25,000 because ” Charlie” didn’t like us. The entire time over there only once did they try to gain access to our base (Cam Rahn AFB), and they didn’t get anywhere close.… Read more »

krypto McDaniel
krypto McDaniel
6 years ago
Reply to  Gerald Green

Thanks Msgt. For setting the record straight. Security police, 1975-1982, and I’ve heard that story many times.

Robert Powell
Robert Powell
6 years ago

ANY BODY with a brain without the democratic grubworm installed can see that the a10 is a stellar ground-pounding ass-kicking killing machine of the first order. it will also smoke a mig in record time . old monkey-butt would not like these to be used against his diaperheaded buddies in ISIS. MAYBE with enough CONGRESSIONAL NOISE BEING MADE TO KEEP THEM , OR BETTER YET BUILD SOME BETTER ONES, POSSIBLY WITH 30MM CASELESS AMMO AND BETTER COOLING IN THE GUN.. NEVER CAN TELL , IT’S POSSIBLE..

Secundius
Secundius
6 years ago
Reply to  Robert Powell

Robert Powell.

The Gau-8 Avenger fire’d a 30x173mm round, it wasn’t Caseless Ammunition…

Michael
Michael
6 years ago
Reply to  Robert Powell

Caseless ammunition won’t work in a Rapid-Fire Automatic Weapon System. After a 100-rounds, Nitrocellilose based Cartridges will start to “Cook-Off” by the heat of the barrels. Hecker & Koch tried the idea, and it Failed…

Tom
Tom
6 years ago

Maybe the Major(ret) or someone else can correct me, it is my understanding that all of the tooling, jigs, machinery, etc to produce an A-10 has been destroyed years ago. Plus the AF wants to transition trained ground and maint A-10 personnel to the F-35 program. So even if the Army or Marines were to get them, there would be no trained maint personnel or funding to go along. KEEP the A-10.

s. herst
s. herst
6 years ago
Reply to  Tom

Your comments regarding A-10 drawbacks are partly true, but not actually very important. The jigs and tooling may be gone, but the plane is very simple in design and construction, so there are no really exotic parts to build, except for the titanium tub that the cockpit sits in…and that is not that hard to duplicate. As for the “problem” of lack of trained maintenance personnel in the Army or USMC, that could be easily solved by temporarily assigning the AF personnel to those branches for the purpose of training the newbies, or letting them transfer permanently if they desire.… Read more »

Eric
Eric
6 years ago

A new A10 would be the answer to aging aircraft. Corrosion , cracks, fatigue life all come into being factors. The aircraft has a proven design and would not be an attempt to reinvent the wheel like the F35 failure and expense.
Like the E2C and new E2D AWAC aircraft.

james
james
6 years ago

While I’ve never served, I always liked the A-10, the tank killer.

The only thing scarier then the A-10 is the AC-130H Spectre gunship.

Hope they improve the A-10 and not scrap the program.

k
k
6 years ago

Have to keep this awesome already paid for assest.

DirtyHarry44
DirtyHarry44
6 years ago

Years ago when I was stationed at Grissom AFB, IN. we had some reserve A-10’s on base and one day coming back from the Alert Facility, as I was driving by the end of the runway, I looked up and saw that what were 4 A-10’s on approach to land and all I could think about was how happy I was to be in a “Friendly” vehicle because I would sure as hell be Swiss cheese otherwise.

Bandit
Bandit
6 years ago

The A-10 may be the ugliest plane in the sky but it does the best job at covering the ground troops from the air, and because it can get low and slow it can do things that the other aircraft can’t do, besides that GAU-8 cannon does have a tendency to make enemy personnel run and try to hide. The planes can get shot full of holes and still fly they are a great plane to have around.

Johnny K Kendrick
Johnny K Kendrick
6 years ago

I served with the 24th Id in Dester storm , the Iraquis were terified of the A10 they called it steel rain, the Air Force and the military as a whole will regret moth balling the A10 it was the perfect close air support then and it will be the perfect on in the future , KEEP THE HOG

desert
desert
6 years ago

The Warthog protects the troops on the ground…..but…..thats not what obozo wants..he wants to protect his muslim buddies!!

Chris
Chris
6 years ago

Couldn’t agree more. As we’ve gone from fighting structured nations to rogue groups the I’ve felt the A10 s importance increase.