A-10s Support Marines in Anbar

BY Herschel Smith
7 years, 5 months ago

I have always loved the A-10 “Warthog.”  With both its firepower and defensive features, I cannot fathom why this magnificent aircraft would be retired, an action that has been threatened for years.  A report from a Marine in Iraq in 2004 shared with us the impact of having an A-10 in battle.

I just wanted to state that the Hog is an awesome weapon. I was with 3rd Bn 2nd Marines of Task Force Tarawa in An Nasiriyah Iraq and saw firsthand the devastation the warthog created. We had been taking fre from a building bout 3/4 of a mile from my pos. We shot it up with the 25mm Bushmaster cannons mounted on top of the LAV-25s, TOW anti-tank missiles from our HMMWVs, countless rounds of .50 cal and 40mm grenades and were still recieving fire. We finally called in AH-1W Cobras to make passes, after about the third or forth pass an A-10 came on station, both Cobras broke off from a gun run and the Hog rolled in. Talk about devestation, that GAU-8 Aveneger sounded like hell on earth, sure came in handy that time.

The A-10 is going back into action to provide close air support for coalition forces in the Anbar Province:

(Media-Newswire.com) – 1/22/2007 – AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq ( AFNEWS ) — A-10 Thunderbolt IIs assigned to the 438th Air Expeditionary Group landed one by one at their new home Jan. 17 here.

A formation of more than 200 Airmen assembled for the 438th AEG activation and assumption of command ceremony Jan. 15 as the unit is in the Al Anbar province to provide close-air support to coalition forces in the region.

“We feel extremely honored to support the Combined Forces Air Component commander’s mission in Iraq and to be joining the proud heritage of the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing — the Tuskegee Airmen,” said Col. Patrick Malackowski, the 438th AEG commander.

The 438th AEG falls under the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing at Balad AB, Iraq. Brig. Gen. Robin Rand, the 332nd AEW commander, presided over the ceremony and welcomed the 438th AEG into the wing.

“Just like the P-47 Thunderbolts that provided close-air support for Marines storming the beaches of Iwo Jima 60 years ago, the modern-day warriors of this group will soon be providing close-air support in A-10 Thunderbolts for Marines on the streets of Ramadi and Fallujah,” General Rand said. “Together, we will influence the course of history and help Iraq transition to democracy.”

At Al Asad AB, the A-10s will join the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing ( Forward ), soon to be replaced by the 2nd MAW ( Forward ), as the primary units operating from the base. Marine F-18 Hornets, C-130 Hercules, EA-6 Prowlers, AV-8 Harriers and several types of rotary wing aircraft are currently in use here.

With the addition of the A-10s, the 332nd AEW now has five primary aircraft in its inventory, including F-16 Fighting Falcons, C-130, MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicles and HH-60 Pave Hawk combat-search-and-rescue helicopters. The addition of the A-10s greatly increases the wing’s role in providing precision weapons and sensors employment.

“In my opinion there are no pilots who perform close air support better than A-10 pilots,” General Rand said. “The 438th Air Expeditionary Group’s mission against anti-Iraqi forces will be vital in helping to secure victory in Iraq.”

The A-10s are deployed from the 74th Fighter Squadron, Pope Air Force Base, N.C. Their distinctive shark teeth nose art identifies them as direct descendants of the famed World War II P-40 fighters known as the “Flying Tigers.” The original shark’s teeth and eyes were designed to scare enemies during battles in Burma and China.

A better choice for close air support could not have been made.  She is a beautiful aircraft – I don’t care what her nickname is.

  • Siddhartha Vicious

    When I was a kid, watching the original Mickey Mouse club (back when they taught actaul lessons, instead of PC crap) they had a song about those kids who did their chores and helped out Mom & Dad, called “Beauty Is As Beauty Does.”

    The Hog is beautiful.

  • http://www.op-for.com Charlie B.

    They are a great aircraft, but Marine FACs and JTACs are usually wary of working with these guys. Their community just does some nonstandard stuff that makes us a little uneasy. Here’s to hoping that 438th proves me wrong.


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This article is filed under the category(s) Air Force and was published January 28th, 2007 by Herschel Smith.

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