World

June 20, 2013

Fighter squadron inactivation signals end of A-10s in Europe

Staff Sgt. Daryl Knee
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany (AFNS) — The Air Force inactivated the 81st Fighter Squadron June 18, here, in support of force-shaping procedures across the service.

The squadron employed the A-10 Thunderbolt II, and the closure signals the end of A-10 operations in Europe.

“For 71 years, the men and women of this fine squadron have ensured America’s security,” said Col. David Lyons, the 52nd Operations Group commander. “The 81st Fighter Squadron piloted many of the most iconic and legendary aircraft the world has ever seen. It leaves me with one thought — that whatever … was provided or whatever mission was demanded, the squadron delivered without question and without fail.”

Air Force senior leaders continuously evaluate the branch’s units, programs and equipment to determine the readiness and capability of U.S. airpower. The Department of Defense has a responsibility to maintain national security, and protect the interests of the United States and its allies.

However, fiscal constraints stemming from the Budget Control Act of 2011, and reduced defense funding outlined in the 2013 presidential budget required the Air Force to develop a strategic vision for future operations during this financial crisis.

Air Force officials submitted a proposal to Congress in 2012. Congress accepted the proposal, and it included in the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, for fiscal 2013. To execute the actions detailed in the NDAA, the Air Force began facilitating activation, reassignment and divestiture actions.

In other words, the Air Force merged missions, and cut manning and equipment to stay within its approved budget.

The 52nd Fighter Wing now employs only the F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft since the inactivation of the 81st FS and the removal of the A-10s. The F-16 is a multipurpose fighter, meaning it can fight air-to-air and air-to-ground, whereas the A-10 provided only close-air support to ground forces.

“As the world has changed, so has the demand for regional forces,” said Lt. Col. Clint Eichelberger, the 81st FS commander. “At one time there were six squadrons of A-10s in Europe with over 140 aircraft and tens of thousands of Cold War ground forces preparing for battle.”

“Today, the climate has changed in this part of the world,” he continued. “And so has the need for conventional forces like the A-10.”

Eichelberger said that instead of focusing on the somber nature of a squadron’s inactivation, today’s Airmen should use this historic milestone as a way to celebrate and honor the accomplishments of the 81st FS and the spirit and enthusiasm that has carried the squadron through decades of change.

“It’s important to know that even though we are closing the doors on our building, the people who worked within the squadron continue to train to increase the combat capability of our Air Force,” Eichelberger said. “Specifically, in our case, many of these people will focus on becoming the close-air-support experts that are needed down range to accomplish the mission and help bring our young Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and Marines home safely.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force Photo by 2nd Lt. Lacey Roberts)

Arizona Airmen memorialize fallen Iraqi fighter pilot

Members of the Arizona Air National Guard’s 162nd Wing honored the life and memory of Iraqi Air Force Brig. Gen. Rasid Mohammed Sideeq Hasan during a memorial service here July 7. Hasan died June 24 after his F-16 Fighting Fa...
 
 

Deployed A-10s take to the skies

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Ruano) An aircraft maintainer assigned to the 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron inspects the oil levels of an A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft engine during a theater security package deployment to Lask Air Base, Poland, July 13. The U.S. and Polish air forces will conduct training aimed at...
 
 

Airmen leverage TFI concept

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. – Thirty-eight service members, including individuals from the 944th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal section, participated in a Battlefield Forensics training course here at the end of June. Together, Senior Master Sgt. Stephen Hunter, 944th Civil Engineer Squadron EOD program manager and Joshua Nason, General Dynamics Information Technology ...
 

 

Celebration and education; Equal Opportunity

  In 1948, Ester Blake became the first enlisted female in the U.S. Air Force, pictures were still black and white, and families gathered around radios for the evening news. Since then, the U.S. Air Force has gone through many changes. The Davis-Monthan Equal Opportunity office specializes in making sure that everyone is treated equally...
 
 
DoD

Final rule puts more teeth into Military Lending Act

  WASHINGTON – The Defense Department today closed loopholes to protect U.S. men and women in uniform from predatory lending practices, President Barack Obama said this morning at the 116th Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The heightened level of financial and consumer-rights protection against unscrupulous practices, called the final rule of...
 
 

AF continues to work with DOD, OPM on cybersecurity incident

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Air Force maintains its commitment to protect personal information from cyber threats by continuing efforts with the Defense Department and the Office of Personnel Management to assist those impacted by the recent cyber incident involving federal background investigation data. OPM and an interagency response team, including investigators from the FBI and...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>