Final Hog Sortie in Europe.

A-10

The Cold War ended more than 20 years ago and things like this still make me realize just how much things have changed.

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – The U.S. Air Force launched the final A-10 Thunderbolt II tactical sortie in Europe at Spangdahlem AB May 14, 2013.
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, 81st 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 A-10 has been a Cold War icon in Europe for over 20 years and was originally deployed to stop the hordes of Soviet armor across the Fulda Gap in then West Germany (amongst other places).

I’d always pictured that operations would look something like this:

Speaking of Soviet Armor, English Russia has an interesting feature on the Armoured Repair Plant №61 in St. Petersburg.

amreppl003-44

On a side note there’s, as of yet, there is no comment from DoD on whether or not the 81st Fighter Squadron will be reactivated and deployed to counter the “cat-tank” threat that has recently emerged in the Chicago loop (the vid was sent to me by a friend as I was working on this post. She works here.).

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12 Comments

Filed under Air Force, Airplanes, Flying, Funny Stuff, Humor, Plane Pr0n

12 responses to “Final Hog Sortie in Europe.

  1. Bill Brandt

    Funny how some things work out. The Fulda Gap and Warsaw Pact was the A10’s raison d’etre – never utilized and yet it has really been one of the more successful planes. Just ask any pilot in the Middle East –

    Or soldier/Marine.

    And to think the Air Force initially didn’t even want it – until the Army said that they’d take it.

    It has shone in ground support.

    • Well, Bill, it was designed for ground support, not just killing tanks. :)

    • Bill Brandt

      And its done both rather well…A good author on the modern US military – taken by services – is Robert Kaplan – in his book Hog Pilots Blue Water Grunts he profiles the modern US Navy and Air Force – and he said an interesting thing about Warthog pilots – that they were really separate in attitude from other Air Force Pilots.

      He compared their outlook – and demeanor – more to the old US Army Air Force pilots.

      I was thinking too – made by the old Republic Aviation – maker of the original P47 Thunderbolt – the A10 is officially the Thunderbolt ll – and what an appropriate name – like the original, ugly, but tough as nails – and deadly.

  2. Hogday

    Excellent!
    I would occasionally find myself walking along the River Nene in Northamptonshire (in my previous `life`) with my trusty black lab` at my side. The fields we skirted round were obviously on a flightpath to RAF Bentwaters in Suffolk (30 miles from where I now live) so I would always be treated to a fine display of American aircraft – apart from that, Northamptonshire was surrounded by US air bases so F111’s, F16’s, F4’s and the rarely sighted U-2 were all on my spotters list. One evening a pair of Warthogs whistled overhead at about 500 feet. Suddenly they both wheeled upwards and performed something akin to an Immelmann turn and swung back towards me and Spike. I then noticed a parked-for-the-night combine harvester on the far side of the field and watched as these two aircraft performed what I assumed to be a dummy attack run on this `target of opportunity`. I was amazed at how they swung up and around this very small field making two runs in what seemed to me to be well under a minute, quite a feat in such a confined space. And then they were gone. The combine was a John Deere – had they no shame?
    (Mav, I borrowed that clip of the A10 on the motorway)

  3. (off-topic)…I’m doing a review of an aviation-themed book that I think would be of interest to the crew here…wondered if I could get posting privileges so I can put it up…not sure who is administrator here.

    Thanks.

  4. Started watching Cats in Tanks, let go of that with the first words from the woman’s mouth. No go for me, no more please. The plane stuff is ok.

  5. Took me a minute to remember where the tank sounds and that music came from: Kelly’s Heroes.

  6. Always enjoyed watching the A-10’s doing the turns…late afternoons; above the USAF Clinic-85-88, Flt Medic, RAF Bentwaters

    • Hogday

      Bob, I ride past the old Bentwaters base from time to time. Its now an industrial park but the local historic enthusiasts have a “Cold War Museum” near there. I posted details before but here’s the link in case you weren’t aware.

      http://www.bcwm.org.uk/

    • Bill Brandt

      HD I think Top Gear had one of their zany car comparisons here – their theme: “Did the communists make a good car?

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