Defense

May 15, 2013

Spangdahlem AB airmen launch final A-10 sortie in Europe

Tags:
SSgt. Daryl Knee
Spangdahlem AB, Germany

Lt. Col. Jeffrey Hogan receives an American flag from Senior Airman Christopher Nichols May 14, 2013, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. This tactical sortie is scheduled to be the last before the squadronís inactivation in June. Hogan is the 81st Fighter Squadron director of operations from Olympia, Wash. Nichols is a 52nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron specialist.

Airmen at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, launched the final A-10 Thunderbolt II tactical sortie in Europe† May 14.

The airframe belongs to the 52nd Fighter Wing’s 81st Fighter Squadron, which inactivates in June.

“I’m proud to be a part of the last sortie,” said Lt. Col. Jeff Hogan, the 81st FS†director of operations and a pilot from today’s flight. “It’s definitely a sad day for the (81st) as we end 20 years of A-10 operations here. I’m just proud to take part in this historic event.”

The squadron’s inactivation is due to the termination of the Continuing Resolution provision and the enacting of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, a plan which defines the budget and expenditures of the U.S. Department of Defense. The Air Force is reviewing and realigning its force structure since President Barack Obama announced the plan.

Capt. Gregory Ulrich gives a thumbs-up on the flightline before departing for a tactical sortie May 14, 2013, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. This was the final A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft tactical sortie in Europe at Spangdahlem AB. Ulrich is a 81st Fighter Squadron pilot from Fairfield, Calif.

Flying hours across the Air Force are being reduced; however, pilots strive to maintain their proficiency by training at every opportunity.

In this sortie, the three pilots flew the A-10s to train with a new upgrade to their helmet. The Scorpion Helmet-Mounted Cueing System includes an eyepiece attachment that taps into the data relay and communications systems of the aircraft to project a color heads-up display. Pilots can then look out of their window, and the eyepiece will highlight friendly or enemy forces.

The route of their training took them over the sky of Fulda, a village in central Germany known for its strategic location in the 1980s.

Airman 1st Class Ethan Du Barton salutes Capt. Gregory Ulrich as he takes part in the final A-10 Thunderbolt II tactical sortie May 14, 2013, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. Flying hours across the Air Force are being reduced; however, pilots strive to maintain their proficiency by training at every opportunity.

The Fulda Gap was a route for a potential tank movement from Eastern Europe into the central Germany during the Cold War. NATO planners and coalition forces prepared defenses around the area in the case of an attack. The development of the A-10 as a close-air-support aircraft is in direct relation to anticipated enemy tank defenses along the route. When the tank movement never occurred and the Cold War ended, U.S. forces used the A-10 aircraft already stationed here for ground support in contingency operations worldwide.

“It’s a difficult day, not for just the people in this squadron, but for anyone who’s ever served with the 81st,” said Lt. Col. Clinton Eichelberger, the 81st FS†commander. “Since we’ve been here, the world has changed, and the Air Force has changed with it. Today marks the day when we move forward. The people and aircraft are moving on to other units where they will continue to serve in today’s theater of operations.”

The aircraft are relocating to Moody Air Force Base, Ga., to help fulfill training requirements and force augmentation. The flight for the last four aircraft out of Germany is slated for May 17.




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


 
 

 

Headlines September 29, 2014

News: U.S. military limits warplanes used for Islamic State bombings - The U.S. is relying mostly on warplanes already positioned in the region for its air war against the Islamic State, as opposed to dispatching a major buildup of aerial forces that happened in previous campaigns.   Business: At DOD, it’s use-it-or-lose-it season - As fiscal 2014...
 
 

News Briefs September 29, 2014

Navy awards ship design grant to UNO The University of New Orleans has received a $210,000 grant from the Navy s Office of Naval Research to test information gathering and analysis techniques intended to improve warship design. The goal for warship designers is to produce a vessel that can be repurposed numerous times throughout its...
 
 
Courtesy photograph

TACP-M ties it all together

Air National Guard photograph by SSgt. Lealan Buehrer Tactical air control party specialists with the 169th Air Support Operations Squadron survey an enemy-controlled landing zone before calling in close-air support Aug. 14, 20...
 

 
Air Force photograph by A1C Thomas Spangler

Nellis aggressor squadron inactivated

Air Force photograph by A1C Thomas Spangler SSgt. Justin White signals to Maj. Sam Joplin to begin taxiing a 65th Aggressor Squadron F-15 Eagle to the runway Sept. 18, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base Nev. The roles and responsib...
 
 
Army photograph by SSgt. Mary S. Katzenberger

82nd Airborne helps commemorate 70th Anniversary of Operation Market Garden

Army photograph by SSgt. Mary S. Katzenberger A paratrooper assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, reflects near the grave of a British paratrooper at the Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery, Sept. 14, 2014, in the Netherlands. The...
 
 

Raytheon awarded $251 million Tomahawk missile contract

The U.S. Navy has awarded Raytheon a $251 million contract to procure Tomahawk Block IV tactical cruise missiles for fiscal year 2014 with an option for 2015. The contract calls for Raytheon to build and deliver Tomahawk Block IV cruise missiles to the U.S. Navy and U.K. Royal Navy. Raytheon will also conduct flight tests...
 




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>