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HAWG - Exploits of an A-10 Fighter Squadron in Afghanistan

HAWG - Exploits of an A-10 Fighter Squadron in Afghanistan
the other hey we got round we got shell casings yep you it starts out as something that you've trained for all your life trying to make a difference the cool thing is as a temp eyelet on times when the stars align and you're up on that mission where you get to make a difference you get to see the reward that's my whole soul in being is that guy on the ground you know he could be an eighteen year old guy eighteen year old kid with a rifle and that's all he's got and I'm here to protect him the first time I ever saw an a-10 was when I was an army basic training at Fort Leonard Wood so I although I grew up around general aviation and knew a lot about civilian airplanes I had actually never heard of an a-10 until I was doing Road marches during basic training how I got interested in the a-10 I can still remember it to this day it I was at a hobby store because I like a lot of kids interested in aviation I built a lot of airplane models and and this was 1979 I was in high school and went to the hobby store and they had a model of a Revell model of the four then brand-new a-10 it had only been operational for a couple of years at that point and I just saw it and I remember I can still remember this day looking at the the wall of models and just trying to pick what I was going to build next and I saw this the box and the picture I said what in the world is that and obviously it's a pretty unique airplane I mean now we don't think about it too much but...
hawg   exploits of an a 10 fighter squadron in afghanistan
but back then I mean I do was totally unique with the two engines mounted up high and the big gun sticking out of the nose and it was just a very unique airplane I sort of what in the world is this thing it initially got utilized as an anti armored platform and that's why some people call it the tank killer because in that phase of its life that was its main main job I was a first lieutenant I was 26 years old when Desert Storm kicked off the 26 year old

fighter

pilot caught the nation's attention a few months ago when he and a partner shot down a record number of Iraqi tanks he's never forget when he looked down and realized that somebody's trying to shoot you down and you've got to do and first Jamar the ceremonial first it's it doesn't seem that long ago to me but I know talking to a lot of the guys about you know there it's been quite a while ago and when you look at the airplane from then to now it's it's pretty amazing the different upgrades and that we've gone through since then the a-10 is the only airframe ever that was built entirely for this mission its sole purpose in life is close air support come on man they're about to do a good ride here you get down let's go buddy come on man hey kids saving the day kid baby some people say it's the tank killer but that actually isn't true this airplane was designed as a close air support aircraft the whole concept came out of the lack of capability of some...
hawg   exploits of an a 10 fighter squadron in afghanistan
airframes in Vietnam and they said hey we're going to we're going to learn from this war and build an airplane that is perfect for close air support it's an awesome testament to the to the aircraft I think that the same gun that we used to kill main battle tanks in 1991 is the same gun where we can shoot a single insurgent that's fleeing on it on a motorcycle or or shooting out at our guys from a from a tree line people sit there and they try to make a weakness of the a-10 right so they try to designate the weakness of the a-10 as it's a singular mission focus I think that's our greatest strength and I wish we would promote it so we care about guys on the ground we do our mission in relationship to guys on the ground we are support element essentially for the army we're the redheaded stepchild in the Air Force that's where we're at that close air support expertise when a 10 it's gotten rid of or if it is getting gone rid of and you get all these multi-role

fighter

s you lose that expertise because it's not number one in the airforce goals it's not number one in the Army's goals the only way it's number one is in 1/10 goals that's where it's number one and it's not a political statement it's really not it's more of we care about the guy on the ground there's I'm not saying an air interdiction mission isn't caring about the guy on the ground but it's not tangible you can't really grab...
hawg   exploits of an a 10 fighter squadron in afghanistan
the benefits of it right then you're going to wait a certain amount of time to see its effects air to air how's that about the guy on the ground well you're building air superiority or supremacy correct but is the guy on the ground going to see it get the tangible benefits of it no close air support is about the guy on the ground we work extensively with joint tactical air controllers special operations forces from all branches of the military not just the Air Force extensive training back stateside that lets us kind of learn their lingo learn the ground situation that they're facing on the ground then on the other on the flipside of that they get to understand how we operate they get to see our sensors they get to see how we employ weapons sensors are great they're amazing they enable precision strike they enable us to generate coordinates that that are pristine that are right on the target but that will never replace just you know looking right outside of my cockpit and looking at the battlespace what am I seeing out there big picture because so many sensors have a soda straw view of the battlespace that yeah I can see right here in this 20 meter area but I can't see what's at 35 meters and maybe if 35 meters are some additional friendly forces that the JTAG that I'm talking to 100 meters east of that target doesn't know it was over there we do have this personal connection with the people that we so closely work with the guy on the...
ground we hear him getting scared jack they remarks a restriction from black hit North 75 meters we hear him getting excited here we go that day - do I need GM you Fenian their remarks and restrictions we hear the bullets fly the fear in taking cover we hear him breathing hard and it becomes a very personal very personal mission especially when when you start hearing about guys taking casualties down there you take that that hits very very close to home nobody ever wants to hear that ok today we're going down to Sunday souffle we've been there recently so we've got a good lay of the land keep in mind Spidey's been pretty hot recently and they've had some contact from the same area around Sunday soup he went over the recent activity keep in mind the kind of mo we've had recently out of there they've seen the the Taliban commander kind of looking at the objective first doing a quick meeting picking up weapons in route usually there's motorcycles involved you've also got the Taliban commander that they seeked a couple weeks ago so you've got all that stuff going on right there in a spondee we're going right to the heat of that so keep that in mind as as we get down there keep your eyes open and stay vigilant alright so our actions on contact near and far ambush return fire look to me will either maneuver it will push through IAD get 360-degree security and clear the danger area and then we'll look to chasm back in the case of...
complex attack we're going to return fire move out of kill zone indirect fire get down look for distance in direction for me our actions on hull to take an e face out and the marked intervals that we're going to use they're going to be depending on where we are in the open area spread out as much as you can the bigger we can look in the more timid ated we can look the less likely we're going to take contact as we move down there it's all I've got were your questions all right we're kidnapped zero six one five there's like one five kids on so yesterday as most days we went out on a dismount of patrol south of our fob to a village of a spondee basically we got some intel that some bad guys were storing weapons in a building and we had contacted them before we'd run into them before however our our biometrics assets didn't have the full dossier on the individuals that we had detained so we had to let him go we pushed across we got over to the town we pushed in set up we set up in in front of a clock that we knew had a previously there'd been at a Taliban commander living in the Afghan National Police were there with us and they went in and searched the house brought the four guys out of the house we questioned them actively like space-like had them all separated from each other so they didn't it can't be talking while we were questioning everybody is the teachers here so they had nothing to worry about we're not doing them...
but Meg I got Martha Moore who was in the weapon is it be different guys that just their stories didn't match up unfortunately we weren't able to detain them we enrolled them in the Sikh before we left the town we're getting reports Intel reports that a Taliban are massing forces which I mean it's a common report you know but it's one of those things that you know unless we have confirmed visual we can't really do much so we just had to continue moving back to the base hey we got Ralph got shell casings yeah but as we were headed back to the base we had to cross about two kilometers of open desert we got about 500 meters outside of the village and started taking some pretty accurate fire we're definitely in a huge open danger area and it was there was no cover I mean there were people trying to find tire tracks to hide to get a little bit of a defilade behind all right you know in that position the best you can do is spread out gain fire superiority you know and then wait for for some air support our comms were a bit of an issue at the time and so they had a little bit of a struggle but they did have a TENS luckily being pushed down to us I have your position south of the treeline luckily the enemy broke contact first after some effective fire from from our platoon and we started our TBN but I need full security brother shooting somebody's shooting stuff we are taking some harassing fire at that point but luckily we had the a-10s on station...
to come in and do a nice show of force which is always a clincher for the enemy because because they know what that entails with the ground troops that I work with when they think close air support they think a TENS if you tell them something else you can always kind of hear them like I don't care about that like tell me one eight tens are on station and I think the reason for that is they almost share the same mentality if you were to say that there's a grunt in the sky be a hog pilot I am their jtech joint terminal attack controller what I do is advise on air assets capabilities assist with those air assets as well as a control them if we need to go kinetic get some ordnance out of this guy's so and get bombs on target not having an a-10 around and its future and such an uncertain state is to me a shame you know for the Air Force to want to get rid of a-10 to me it is them saying there's no longer be any ground wars to win a war you need boots on the ground and to have boots on the ground you need support and you need the right kind of support have boots on the ground it's the a-10 honestly even sometimes just a sound our just telling the ground commander hey a-10 is on its way or we have aircraft sporting the winter five mics I asked what it is you say hey we got a a-10 coming on it's it's it's uh yeah it picks them up a little bit that sound is so distinguishable nice good effect it literally shakes the ground it is amazing now you hear it...
first when it fires and then you hear echo from the gun in the sky that sound right there just drives 11 Bravo's nuts it's amazing hey thanks sir I just my pants it's that sound of corny like freedom but it really is it's just it's the sound of don't mess with me it scares off everyone and shows you or you're in good hands for me having been in the Air Force since you know commissioned in right after September 11th you know and having known nothing but this combat theater over here in

Afghanistan

I know that when you're talking to a 19-2 a 35 year old man on the end of a radio who's scared and just needs some help right then he doesn't care about fiscal constraints he doesn't care about big picture Air Force policy he doesn't care about the next fancy weapons system coming down the pipeline he cares about being saved right then and there the job is important like I said I don't have any problem sleeping at night doing stuff that we usually make your psychology a little bit off I don't have a problem killing people and we'll stuff up because when I hear that JTAG get freaked out if I had to kill a lot of people it's because that guy was trying to kill my brother in arms down the ground that's what I was born and bred to do in the Air Force it's amazing to be in this job to be able to know that through interactions with JTACs that my job matters to people I'm very lucky to be that way there are very...
few jobs I think in the world that have that much real feedback from people to say I appreciate you what you do it makes it it's very humbling it's that we are so trusted in and liked by the ground forces I think that's something that I'm very very proud of they love this airplane and they trust us is the biggest thing I mean when you're shooting last night we just looked at it was between 65 and hundred meters away from the from the friendly guys and for those guys to trust us to do that on a regular basis is it's very gratifying I'm convinced that when the history books are written about my generation of aviators there's no doubt that the a-10 will be a key point of what airpower has provided in the world and in the in the global battle space the evidence speaks itself of what the airplane is done so there's no denying what the airplane is capable of doing and what it's done for nearly 15 years straight you've got a huge group of experts at what they do with a singular focus you can't really get that back once it's broken out you