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.


 
 

 

Details still in works for deploying troops to Iraq

WASHINGTON – While some 1,500 U.S. service members will advise, assist and train Iraqis in the coming months, deployment orders have not been issued yet, Pentagon spokesman Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said today. Sourcing details for the troops are still being worked out, Kirby told reporters. The 1,500 personnel are a part of the...
 
 

Face of Defense: Army officer competes for Mars Arctic 365 Program

MARS DESERT RESEARCH STATION – An Army officer is competing to spend a year on a Canadian island with the Mars Arctic 365 program. First Lt. Heidi Beemer is taking part in a Mars simulation here this month. Beemer is a decontamination platoon leader from the 63rd Chemical Company, 83rd Chemical Battalion, 48th Chemical Brigade,...
 
 
NORAD_pict

NORAD prepares to track Santa’s flight

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS) — The North American Aerospace Defense Command’s NORAD Tracks Santa website, http://www.noradsanta.org, launched Dec. 1, featuring a mobile version, a holiday countdown, new games a...
 

 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Adam Grant)

AFSOUTH Liaison Officers: Embarking on a journey toward a promising future

Colonel Alex Voigt has only been serving as the Air Forces Southern Chilean Liaison Officer at Davis-Monthan for a couple of months, but with a history of Chilean LNOs reaching the rank of general and one even going on to serve...
 
 

AFSOUTH Liaison Officers: A blending of cultures

Colonel Alexandre Alves was surprised when he received a call informing him that he had been selected to serve as the next Air Forces Southern Brazilian Liaison Officer at Davis-Monthan. Representing his country to the AFSOUTH Commander was not something Alves could have fathomed when he started his Brazilian air force career at the age...
 
 

DeCA partners to offer scholarships for military children

FORT LEE, Va. – As the Scholarships for Military Children Program enters its 15th year, more than 8,000 students have shared nearly $13 million in scholarships. Applications for the 2015-2016 school-year awards become available starting Dec. 15 at commissaries worldwide or on the Scholarships for Military Children website. As one of last year’s recipients said,...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin