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 November 26, 2014

News: When Hagel leaves, new SecDef faces big questions about the military’s future - President Obama’s new pick to run the Pentagon will face a dizzying set of challenges affecting the Defense Department’s mission, budget and culture. Who will be the next Secretary of Defense?- Following the Nov. 24 surprise announcement from the White House, the...
 
 

News Briefs November 26, 2014

Navy to decommission two more ships in Puget Sound The Navy recently decommissioned the guided missile frigate USS Ingraham at Everett, Wash. It will be towed to Bremerton and scrapped. The Daily Herald reports the Navy also plans to decommission another ship at the Everett homeport and also one stationed in Bremerton. Naval Station Everett...
 
 

NASA airborne campaigns tackle climate questions from Africa to Arctic

NASA photograph The DC-8 airborne laboratory is one of several NASA aircraft that will fly in support of five new investigations into how different aspects of the interconnected Earth system influence climate change. NASA photograph The DC-8 airborne laboratory is one of several NASA aircraft that will fly in support of five new investigations into...
 

 
Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend

16T Pitch Boom reactivated to support wind tunnel tests

Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend The Pitch Boom at the AEDC 16-foot transonic wind tunnel (16T) was recently reactivated. This model support system is used in conjunction with a roll mechanism to provide a combined pitch...
 
 

Northrop Grumman supports U.S. Air Force Minuteman missile test launch

Northrop Grumman recently supported the successful flight testing of the U.S. Air Force’s Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile weapon system. The operational flight test was conducted as part of the Air Force Global Strike Command’s Force Development Evaluation Program. This program demonstrates and supports assessment of the accuracy, availability and reliability of the...
 
 
army-detector

Scientists turn handheld JCAD into a dual-use chemical, explosives detector

Scientists at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., proved it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks by adding the ability to detect explosive materials to the Joint Chemical Age...
 




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>