Defense

June 19, 2013

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

usafe-a10
The Air Force inactivated the 81st Fighter Squadron June 18, at Spandgahlem Air Base, Germany, 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.


 
 

 

President proclaims Memorial Day as ‘Day of Prayer’

President Barack Obama May 22 saluted the service and sacrifices of America’s military members–past and present–and proclaimed Memorial Day, May 25, 2015, “as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11 a.m. of that day as a time during which people may unite in prayer....
 
 

Air Force leaders’ Memorial Day message

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III send the following Memorial Day message to the Airmen of the Air Force and their families: To the Airmen of the United States Air Force and their Families: On Memorial Day, Americans pause in solemn remembrance...
 
 

Headlines May 22, 2015

News: Second Marine killed in Hawaii Osprey crash identified - Marine Corps officials have identified the second Marine to die as a result of the May 17 MV-22B Osprey crash as Lance Cpl. Matthew J. Determan of Maricopa, Ariz.   Business: Israel defense exports plunge to seven-year low - Israeli defense sales last year plunged to their...
 

 

News Briefs May 22, 2015

Ukrainian officer hit with third charge in Russia A third charge has been filed against a Ukrainian military officer who has been behind bars in Moscow for nearly a year over the deaths of two Russian journalists in Ukraine. Nadezhda Savchenko, who worked as a spotter for Ukrainian troops fighting separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine,...
 
 
Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez

Smart-mortar will help Soldiers more effectively hit targets

Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez Nick Baldwin and Evan Young, researchers with the Armament Research Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, Pennsylvania, discuss the 120mm Guided Enhanced Fragmentation Mortar ...
 
 

Air Force assigns new chief scientist

The Air Force announced the service’s new chief scientist to serve as a science and technology adviser to the secretary of the Air Force and the chief of staff of the Air Force, May 21. Dr. Greg Zacharias will be the 35th chief scientist and is ready to “dive in” to his new role. “I...
 




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>