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Consider A-10 Thunderbolts for new mission

Dan Reinhard, Minot

I fully realize that my most senior fellow Airmen never reads The Minot Daily News or will give me a chance to express my view. But I will nonetheless.

The war in Ukraine is without doubt the most hallowing testament to the will of a sovereign nation to survive. It is a country, despite all the controversy, trying to make a living for its citizens – to exist in a deeply troubled and competitive world. The Ukrainians are presently being slaughtered by Russian long-range missiles and artillery to which the Ukrainian military does not have the proper counteroffensive weapons to fight with. With that said, I plead for understanding of all I am about to suggest.

The Air Force has been retiring many A-10 Thunderbolts over the past several years. And I understand why, except for decimating the cartels in Mexico, why keep them? I was a very small part of the original cadre that brought the A-10 aircraft into the Air Force inventory. I attended the Fairchild Corporation training seminars. I know about titanium bathtubs, system redundancy, and the lethality of a flying GAU-8 Gatling gun. I know well that it was originally designed to stop the Russian tanks and armament from attacking our allies in Europe. At a very effective and efficient cost.

So here is my argument fellow Airmen: Why is that aircraft designed from the ground up to destroy armored equipment, sitting on a piece of concrete or in a hangar around our country? I have rudimentary understanding of the enormous amounts of training required to fly that little monster into battle. And I understand about air cover required from above and at ground level to protect it. But somehow, I know fellow Airmen can provide that.

But isn’t it time to prove the reasons that we brought the A-10 into our inventory? I ask that we give all of them, except for one ANG squadron, to Ukrainian pilots – after intense training. We can, once again, prove that Airmen know the way to victory.

Here’s my biggest concern however, knowing the A-10 pilot with a motto “Have Gun, Will Travel.” I suspect that there would be a major brawl with my Airman A-10 pilots, to fly their Big Gun into battle…and never give up that stick to anyone… But believe this to be the best answer.

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