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.
This way the AF can get rid of that hated CAS mission and keep the force/support structure for other areas.
But Kudos the A-10 pilots, they understood it takes the total military to win and willingly supported the ground pounder.
” Retired USAF Officer with 20 years service “.
Good job sir and Thanks.
Guess you know your bid ness.
Some years ago, I was on leave in Panama, and found myself at the Howard AFB O Club. I learned that it is not a good idea to engage in some serious drinking with Warthog pilots. Those guys are a breed apart.
More on the story at:
Ah. I assumed you were talking about their government masters.
Does the F-35 have a Gatlin gun that spews milk container sized bullets?? No! Does the F-35 have a titanium bathtub protecting the pilot?? No! Does the F-35 have the ability to loiter over the battlefield?? No! Can a F-35 take hits from 23 or 30 mm cannons and keep pounding the enemy and come back home?? No! Pathetic a military history buff knows more that the Air Force brass.
Guess we don’t need A-10s in Michigan, not like the Canadians will be coming across Lake St. Clair. /s
I don't believe any other aircraft can do what the A-10 can do...
Some years before that a certain LT Mulholland (USA, 3/5 INF) Airborne shuffled across that bar (Howard AFB) and stuck his head through the ceiling creating “Mulholland's Hole.” As a COL several of his soldiers had direct benefit from these A-10s during Operational Anaconda in OEF. Believe he has 3 stars now.
A-10: Ugly as sin, tough as nails, very effective. One of my favorites!
D E A D B U G!!!!!!!
I should have added that to the previous post.
No they wouldn’t. The Corps didn’t want the A-10 when they were slated to receive them after Desert Storm and they still don’t want them now.
You could attempt to make that argument if you included the caveat - in a low-threat environment.
The Super Tucano is not being procured for the Air Force. It is being procured for our “allies”.
The A-10 carries 1150 bullets for its GAU-8 30mm gun. The F-35 carries just over 180 bullets. What weapons will the F-35 use for CAS when there are bad guys "just across the road" from our guys?
As confirmed by the Congressional record, prior to Desert Storm, A-10s were slated to be dispersed to the Marine Corps and Army.
I see the F-35 has a 25 mm cannon. I figured it had a 20 mm like the F-16
The Warthog can take a licking and keep on ticking!