Skip to comments.A-10s AT SELFRIDGE MAY BE VICTIM OF PENTAGON CUTS
Posted on 02/02/2012 3:17:04 AM PST by equaviator
Reports indicate the 107th squadron will be eliminated
Government officials at all levels received a shock this week when it was reported that the fighter squadron that flies A-10 aircraft out of Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township may be eliminated under the new, downsized Pentagon budget.
If the reduction receives congressional approval, it would apparently end the Air National Guards 107th Fighter Squadron, which consists of 630 military personnel, 250 of whom are full-time airmen. Most are pilots and maintenance mechanics.
The proposed Defense Department budget for fiscal year 2013, which sets the stage for a decade-long $500 billion cut in spending, would reportedly eliminate five A-10 squadrons across the nation.
The news comes just less than three years after the A-10s made their home at Selfridge following a major reshuffling of military installations under the 2005 Pentagon base-closings process.
Capt. Penelope Carroll, a Selfridge spokeswoman, said that the base has received no confirmation of the plan to end the squadron and probably will not know anything more until the Obama administrations proposed 2013 federal budget is published on Feb. 13.
People are making deductions based on what the Air Forces new approach is and the A-10 is a mission theyre (eventually) phasing out, Carroll said.
Though the fate of the A-10s has not been reported by major news organizations, three websites that specialize in military news have reported that one active-duty, one Reserve and three National Guard A-10 units will be chopped. One congressional staffer told The Macomb Daily that he has been informed that the extinction of the Selfridge A-10s is a done deal.
After hearing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta last week outline planned structural changes throughout the military, including major cutbacks for the Air Force, Selfridge personnel realized that the A-10s days may be numbered.
Changes are occurring in our military, and thats probably going to affect us, Carroll said. Were bracing ourselves.
U.S. Rep. Candice Miller and defense experts on the staff of Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, could not be reached for comment.
The A-10 Thunderbolts, known for the distinctive whistling sound of their jet engines, have long been considered an ugly -- though effective -- airplane and they are affectionately known as the warthogs by Air Force personnel.
Under the last base closings process, Selfridge lost some personnel and eventually shut down or demolished several buildings. F-16 fighter jets at the base, which created their trademark roar over the Mount Clemens area for two decades, were moved out. Twenty-four A-10s were moved in, with some transferred from the Battle Creek National Guard installation. And a large unit that operated C-130 cargo aircraft was shifted to Florida.
The 127th Wings main mission now is flying KC-135 mid-air refueling tankers that have played a role in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and in the recent NATO air support mission in Libya.
Military.com and the military/aerospace blog at the Ft. Worth Star Telegram in Texas both reported that five A-10 squadrons, including the Selfridge contingent, would be sacrificed under the Pentagon budget. Pilots from those units could be reassigned to new squadrons, though the 10-year plan calls for a reduction of 10,000 airmen.
The Air Force Times also published an online report on the decommissioning of A-10s, indicating that most of the aircraft will be parked in the Arizona desert and that Air Force brass hope that it's not called on any time soon to provide much close air support to grunts on the ground.
The plane is designed to fly slow and low and provide air bombardments to assist ground troops. In the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the A-10 played a valuable role as the tank-killer in the skies. In Afghanistan, the aircraft has distinguished itself as a warhorse that Taliban fighters dread.
But the Air Force wants to replace aging aircraft with the new F-35 fighter, which can offer protection to ground troops, like the A-10, but can also engage in air combat. However, the design and production of the new plan has experienced problems in the past and Panetta has again delayed the fighter jet. Critics say the F-35 can only supply ground support from altitudes much higher than the A-10.
Levin has staunchly defended the budget laid out by Panetta and on Tuesday he sharply rebuked Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for claiming the new plan shows President Obama will hollow out the U.S. armed forces.
The senator noted that the budget proposal is the product of an 8-month strategy review on reshaping and shrinking the military as the wars wind down in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He wants to attack the president as being weak on defense, said Levin, a Michigan Democrat. The problem with his position is it runs headlong into the uniformed leaders, uniformed military leaders of this country, who say this is their budget.
Levins staff said on Wednesday that they could not confirm that the Selfridge squadron is targeted for elimination.
Losing the 107th Fighter Squadron could deal a blow to Macomb County officials new emphasis on Macomb as the Midwests center of the defense industry. The county boasts of the Sterling Heights-Warren defense corridor, including the Army Tank-Automotive complex. Selfridge, the largest military facility in Michigan, is home to all five branches of the U.S. military.
The 127th Wing of the Air National Guard, which oversees the lakefront base, would still consist of about 1,100 personnel if the manpower of the 107th is put in a stand down position. It has also taken on new missions in recent years, with the addition of aircraft, naval vessels and personnel from the Department of Homeland Security and the Border Patrol.
If the Air Force doesn’t want A-10s, the Marines would be delighted to have them.
The Air Force fighter jocks have been trying to get rid of the A-10 for decades. Why not let another service who values their capabilities have them?
Or will they just use a bulldozer blade to break the fuselage like they did the P-51’s, etc. at the end of WWII?
The A-10, a system that actually works and far exceeds it expectations.
Soooo, get rid if it.
What a shit load of dumbasses we have in gub mint today.
I’m sure whatever solution the Obama administration comes up with will do the most harm at the highest cost.
Very kind of you to assume stupidity where evil would fit the data just as well.
I assume stupidity because military brass always want the newest latest over priced military hardware.
[known for the distinctive whistling sound of their jet engines]
I suspect they are more remembered for their Gatling burp.
I don’t believe the F-35 can do what the A-10 can do. Those are two different planes with two different purposes.
It doesn’t say they are being destroyed, it says they are closing the base, so they will move the planes to another area. There are no plans that I have heard of to do away with the A-10.
I doubt the F-35 can absorb the damage that the A-10 can. The Warthog is the best at what it was designed to do - support the infantry, close to the ground. If the brass hats are concerned about the possibility of any air to air, that is the purpose of tasking a CAP to the strike package.
you are correct, and I believe that the close air support role is going to be filled by the Super Tucano.... you can get 30 or 40 copies of this for the price of just 1 f-35.. and it is a battle proven platform... except that the fighter jocks may not want to fly a turboprop, but that is an ego problem, not a practicality problem
Opps...sorry about that. Anyway it was a photo of the A-10 gun next to a VW Beetle. An impressive shot (pardon the pun).
Damn, I love those planes! Leanest, meanest, war-machine-breaking fighting tool ever devised.
The leadership of the Air Force has always espoused the theory that attacking "strategic targets" behind the enemy lines had a better payoff than being slaved to the despised grunts at the front line. Imagine how much better things would have gone at Omaha Beach at Normandy if the troops there had had good CAS?
But I digress; because of the institutional revulsion within the Air Force for CAS, their leadership has always pushed to get rid of the A-10 and getting A-10s was a mixed blessing. Because there was so little emphasis, A-10 pilots occasionally skipped the classes on identifying our or allied armor and there were some murderous incidents where they attacked and destroyed our own vehicles and killed our troops.
The army really needs to get its own CAS and let the Air Force go do something else.
Miping for a warthog?
What bothers me is that it’s the not just the A-10’s that would be going away at SANGB but the 107th FS itself.
That's right folks, AGAIN. If it hadn't been for Operation DESERT STORM the AF would have sent the A-10s to the bone yards and smelters by the mid 1990s. Why - to pay the F-22 bills. The manpower and fiscal costs of developing the F-22 were massive and the only way the AF could afford their latest fighter was to shut down other programs.
And then came DESERT STORM. There was a strong rumor going around that the serving Chief of Staff USAF told Gen Swarzkorf that he would be using the F-16 ground attack variant instead of the A-10s. That rumor says a phone call was made to Washington and the AF fighter general was removed from office shortly there after.
Why does my AF want to get of the A-10?
First cause - the Army likes it. The fighter general dominated AF is still, after 65 years, terrified of being reabsorbed by the Army.
Second cause - they view it as a money source for the F-35; a program that is very late, way over cost, and will never be built to the number of A-10s currently in service.
Third cause - the A-10 has actually fulfilled its mission statements when its replacements haven't. Sorry but a four hard point, single engine ground attack aircraft with extremely limited time-ON-target doesn't cut it anymore.
Fourth cause - it just isn't sexy enough. It doesn't fly faster than the speed of sound, it doesn't make a lot of noise, it doesn't match the pictures drawn by young boys when they draw pictures of jet fighters, and how can A-10 pilots ever match the 6'2”, eyes of blue, perfect teeth, square jawed image of the fighter pilot recruiting poster?
I would dearly love to see the Thunderbgirds put on a show flying the A-10. It might not be noisy enough, but it would show everyone what type of aircraft is truly needed to fight today's irregular war.