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.


 
 

 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Tom Reynolds

F-35B successfully completes wet runway, crosswind testing

Lockheed Martin photograph by Tom Reynolds F-35B aircraft BF-4, piloted by Lockheed Martin Test Pilot Dan Levin, starts down the runway as part of wet runway and crosswind testing at Edwards AFB, Calif. In an important program ...
 
 
Air Force photograph by MSgt. J. Wilcox

Tyndall AFB takes F-22 pilot training to next level

Air Force photograph by MSgt. J. Wilcox Two F-22 Raptors and a T-38 Talon from Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, fly together during a 43rd Fighter Squadron Basic Course training mission Oct. 7, 2013 over Florida. A sortie begin...
 
 
Army photograph by David Vergun

Senior leaders explain Army’s drawdown plan

Army photograph by David Vergun No commander is happy when notified that a soldier from his or her command has been identified for early separation. But commanders personally notify those Soldiers and ensure participation in th...
 

 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Beth Groom

F-35 Rollout Marks U.S.-Australia Partnership Milestone

Lockheed Martin photograph by Beth Groom Royal Australian Air Force Air Marshal Geoff Brown delivers his remarks at the roll out ceremony for Australia’s first F-35. The official rollout of the first two F-35 Lightning II...
 
 
Air Force photograph by A1C Erin OíShea

U.S. Forces display military might at Farnborough

Air Force photograph by A1C Erin O’Shea Capt. Tom Meyers discusses the F-15E Strike Eagle’s capabilities with spectators July 17, 2014, at the Farnborough International Airshow in England. Public access was granted ...
 
 
raptors4

Raptors, Falcons fuel up in desert skies

Three U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors assigned to the 325th Fighter Wing, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., fly alongside a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 93rd Air Refueling Squadron, Fairchild AFB, Wash., during Red Flag 14-3, Ju...
 




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>