Monday, August 30, 2010

CPI Aerostructures Announces $17 Million Purchase Order from Boeing for A-10 Assemblies

EDGEWOOD, N.Y., Aug 30, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- CPI Aerostructures, Inc. ("CPI Aero(R)") /quotes/comstock/14*!cvu/quotes/nls/cvu (CVU 10.27, +0.32, +3.22%) today announced that it has received a new purchase order valued at $17 million from the Boeing Defense, Space & Security unit of The Boeing Company ("Boeing") for 49 ship sets of assemblies for the A-10 aircraft. This represents a follow-on order for CPI Aero's previously announced long-term requirements contract to support Boeing's A-10 Wing Replacement Program (WRP). The A-10 WRP contract between Boeing and CPI Aero is worth up to approximately $81 million for the production of a variety of structural assemblies for up to 242 enhanced wings. To date, CPI Aero has received $33 million of orders for the A-10 WRP program.

Edward J. Fred, CPI Aero's CEO and President, stated, "We are proud of our performance on this program and are excited about this follow-on order. As we continue to demonstrate our assembly capabilities to the Boeing A-10 Wing Replacement Team, we hope to be considered for additional opportunities for assemblies and systems integration on this platform."

Mr. Fred continued, "With this purchase order release, total year-to-date contract awards are approximately $50.5 million, compared to a total of $12.1 million of new contract awards during the same period last year."

CPI Aero is engaged in the contract production of structural and other aircraft parts for leading prime defense contractors, the U.S. Air Force, and other branches of the armed forces. In conjunction with its assembly operations, CPI Aero provides engineering, technical and program management services. Among the key programs that CPI Aero supplies are the E-2D Hawkeye surveillance plane, the UH-60 BLACK HAWK helicopter, the S-92(R) helicopter, the MH-60S mine countermeasure helicopter, the Gulfstream G650, C-5A Galaxy cargo jet, the T-38 Talon jet trainer, the A-10 Thunderbolt attack jet, and the E-3 Sentry AWACS jet. CPI Aero is included in the Russell Microcap(R) Index.

The above statements include forward looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, which are described from time to time in CPI Aero's SEC reports, including CPI Aero's Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009 and CPI Aero's Forms 10-Q for the quarters ended March 31, 2010 and June 30, 2010.

CPI Aero is a registered trademark of CPI Aerostructures, Inc.

SOURCE: CPI Aerostructures, Inc.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Most of image links on Warthog News temporarily disabled

Dear readers and visitors. Today, from Photobucket Support I got the following e-mail:

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Attention usmilobserver

You have exceeded the 10 GB monthly bandwidth limit on your free
Photobucket account. As such, your image and video links have been
temporarily disabled. Your images and videos have not been deleted but
will be reactivated on the 04th of the month, when your bandwidth
usage resets to zero.

If you'd like to re-activate your links right away, you can upgrade to a
Photobucket Pro account.

With a Photobucket Pro account you get unmetered bandwidth, unlimited storage, removal of advertisements, high resolution photos and premium support.

Click here to upgrade now and keep your
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Please check my blog again if all shots, mostly stored on Photobucket, are online again.

Idaho National Guard hosts employers and civic leaders

Stan McKie
Boise City Buzz Examiner
August 26th, 2010 7:14 pm MT

The Idaho National Guard played host to 179 employers, civic leaders, representatives from Idaho government agencies and members of the legislature at its annual 'Boss Lift' today August 26, 2010. The 'Boss Lift' is conducted every year by the Idaho Chapter of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. The state chapter is part of a nationwide organization of business and civic leaders to provide support for members of the guard and reserve, and to assist their civilian employers to understand the importance of part-time military service, and provides help to businesses that have employees called away from their civilian jobs to active military duty.

The Idaho National Guard Public Affairs office under Col. Tim Marciano of the Idaho Air Guard, took the participants in the 'Boss Lift' on a tour of training facilities on Gowen Field, and then by helicopter to the Orchard Training Area where soldiers from the 116th Cavalry Brigade are doing their annual training. They are also preparing to begin deployment to Iraq next month.

The civilians toured the training simulators for both small arms and vehicle-borne weapons and were allowed to actually use the trainers under the supervision of retired guard soldiers, CW3 Don Robbins and MSG Bill Nuttal. They were able to experience what if feels like to use M16A4 Rifles and M4 Carbines in a fire-fight, and how it looks to drive a HummVee through downtown Baghdad and engage targets with a .50 caliber machine gun.

Afterwards, they toured the facilities of the Idaho Air Guard's 190th Fighter Squadron. On display were the simulators for the A-10 Warthog ground attack aircraft, as well as other supporting units of the Air Guard, including a display of equipment of the 101st Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Defense Team.

The 116th continues their annual training through next week, and then will begin deployment around the middle of September.


Note: From the associated slide show I selected the following pictures:

A-10 Warthog. (Photo by Examiner)

Actual A-10C cockpit. (Photo by Examiner)

A-10's main weapon, 30mm rotary cannon 'Gatling Gun'. (Photo by Examiner)

A-10 pilot trainer. (Photo by Examiner)

30mm round. (Photo by Examiner)

Ammo Airmen support explosive mission

by Senior Airman Melissa B. White
451st Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

8/26/2010 - KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- Building bombs is what they do - a job some might take for granted, or a thought that will never even cross the mind of others.

"Most people seem to think that bombs actually come preassembled, but these Airmen are out here building them with their hands," said Master Sgt. Robert Brown, a munitions systems specialist assigned to the 451st Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron Munitions Flight at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. "People don't know what it takes to put the bombs together, but we're out here on a daily basis working around explosives."

Even though others might look past jobs like theirs, these 62 Airmen from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, with a handful of others, understand the importance of their jobs.

"I think this job has a direct result on the warfighting capability," said Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Smartt, a conventional maintenance crew chief with the 451st EMXS. "Whenever we build these bombs and the aircrews expend them, we're taking care of the enemy. It's satisfying to have such a large impact on the mission."

Since arriving here in May with the A-10 Thunderbolt II squadron also based at Spangdahlem AB, this munitions flight has supported seven different types of aircraft and built close to 200 bombs.

With at least one more month to go in the flight's deployment, this group of Airmen has recently increased their bomb output compared to previous months.

"It just depends on the tempo. The Taliban have stepped up their operations, so we stepped up ours and we've adapted," said Sergeant Brown.

Other than just building bombs, the ammo Airmen have plenty more to do to keep busy. They are responsible for inspecting all components prior to building, also ensuring the parts don't exceed the service life. Once they build the bombs, they then deliver the completed munitions to the flightline when needed.

"It's very time consuming and it takes a lot of planning and preparation," said Sergeant Smartt.

However, ammo Airmen aren't all about bombs. They are also responsible for replacing the expended 30 mm round ammunition tubes with new rounds for the A-10s. The Airmen have done this for tens of thousands of rounds throughout their rotation. They also build flares for the aircrews and rebuild them when necessary.

"Without us they can't complete their mission," said Sergeant Brown

There is one thing that might be working against this group of Airmen: the heat. However, with temperatures regularly soaring above 110 degrees during summer months, they have found ways to cope with the conditions and work around them.

"We usually build when it's cooler - at night or at the beginning or end of the day - because, as you may notice, we don't have a lot of shade," said Sergeant Smartt.

Nothing seems to be slowing them down as they work before sunrise, singing along to the music from the radio as they get the job done.

"It's the first time deploying for a lot of these Airmen and the morale is good," said Sergeant Brown. "We're here to complete our mission and to do it safely."

Staff Sgt. Misty Lowe tightens the super bolt while Airman 1St Class Anthony Anderson holds the bomb in place August 23, 2010, at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. Sergeant Lowe and Airman Anderson are munitions systems specialists with the 451st Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron Munitions Flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Chad Chisholm) Hi-res


Pacific Thunder 2010

by Master Sgt. Greg Steele
917th Wing Public Affairs

8/25/2010 - Barksdale AFB, LA. -- Concealed in brush on a barren mountainside, an airman hears the distinctive whine of two General Electric turbofan engines; the Hog is close. Over his radio he hears, "Up and in", the words letting him know the attack is imminent. An A-10 Thunderbolt II pops over a hill, climbs, banks hard left and then rolls almost inverted, the pilot finding his target. The airman responds, "Swine two -two, cleared hot." The jet rolls back over, levels out, and he watches the bomb leave the aircraft, falling with unbelievable precision, impacting directly on a tank. "Shack!" he responds, letting the pilot know it was a kill.

This is business as usual for a Joint Terminal Attack Controller, but instead of the harsh and deadly country side of Afghanistan, this scenario took place on the Yakima Training Center, an Army maneuver training area located in central Washington, northeast of the town of Yakima. The A-10, affectionately known as the "Warthog", was supplied by the 917th Wing, Barksdale Air Force Base, La.

In July 2010, approximately one-hundred 917th Wing Airmen and six 47th Fighter Squadron A-10s, deployed to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., for two-weeks of close-air-support training with the 5th Air Support Operations Squadron. The 5th ASOS is a combat support unit assigned to the 1st Air Support Operations Group, Fort Lewis, Wash. "Our training simulated wartime conditions with wartime airspace management issues," said Lieutenant Colonel Robin Sandifer, 47th FS director of operations. "We were able to put together all of the components of the integrated air-to-ground war with the guys on the ground who control the air."

The "guys on the ground" were the JTACs, a group of specialized Airmen who work side-by-side with the Army to make sure the right bomb lands on the right target. During the two-weeks of training, A-10 pilots brought a wide variety of munitions to the field, ranging from laser-guided bombs to 30mm bullets. The first week of training consisted of sorties flying inert (non-explosive) munitions that are the same size and weight as their "live" counterparts. In all, 48 inert 500 pound BDU-50 low drag bombs and 35 inert 500 pound laser-guided bombs were dropped on the Yakima range, with weapon releases being directed by the JTACs on the ground. When using these types of "low drag" munitions, their releases are from higher altitudes and the LGBs require the use of a laser for target designation.

"The SOFLAM is what we use for target acquisition," said Airman Michael Pincheira, 5th ASOS radio operator maintenance and driver. "Once we acquire the target and the bomb is released, the seeker head on the weapon follows the laser to the intended target." The Special Operations Forces Laser Acquisition and Marker (SOFLAM) is not only used for laser target acquisition, but also for range finding, which can be very important when you're dropping "live" munitions and want to stay well out of the fragmentation area.

Airman Pincheira, a new ROMAD fresh out of a five-month technical school, is a JTACs apprentice and responsible for setting up equipment such as the SOFLAM and radios the JTACs will use to communicate with the pilots to bring them on target. "This is great training for the younger guys," said Staff Sergeant Jarrid Cavanaugh, 5th ASOS Battalion JTAC. "It gives us a chance to bring them up to speed on any new equipment and gives them some much needed range time. For many of these guys it's their first time on the range, so it gives them a better understanding of what it is we actually do and what hopefully they'll be doing in a couple of years once they are certified JTACs."

Week two consisted of a volley of "live" weapon deliveries to the range in the form of 500 pound class MK-82 low drag and high drag bombs. High drag weapons allow the pilots to release them at a much lower altitude because their slower rate-of-fall gives the jets time to exit the fragmentation area prior to the bomb's impact and detonation.

The arrival of "live" weapons on the range also brings a volley of range restrictions which can be the cause of great frustration for both the JTACs and pilots. "This is an Army maneuver training range and even though the ground is littered with hard targets, the Air Force can only drop bombs on a select few," said Captain Kenneth Francis, 5th ASOS air liaison officer. "The JTAC is responsible for ensuring the pilot knows what targets to hit and keeps him aware of any changes in range restrictions, which could include anything from how low the pilot can fly the aircraft, to the direction needed to start the attack." Regardless of the restriction, communication between the JTAC and pilot was vital since the A-10s had a limited amount of range time for releasing their weapons.

The range terrain also brought its own difficulties. A JTAC relies on roads, structures, or natural landmarks to "talk" the pilot onto a target, but the moonscape appearance of Yakima range gave the JTACs little help when trying to describe to an A-10 pilot where his AF target is among the dozens of Army targets sitting out in the open. "It's a tough range to talk-on," said Cavanaugh. "Even JTACs that have years of experience say it's one of the hardest ranges to describe. The lack of detail and visible landmarks really makes it hard."

Live fire exercises were also being performed by the Army which included helicopters firing Hellfire missiles and artillery training. "It's great that we can do our Air Force training, but it's a bonus for us to be able to put titanium over army cranium," said Colonel James Macaulay, 917th Operations Group vice commander. "We want the army to get that warm fuzzy when they hear the whine of hogs overhead knowing that we're here for them. It's done huge things for us in the A-10 community and one of the reasons we're still around."

All totaled, by the end of the week of "live" drops, 24 500 pound MK-82 low drag bombs and 168 500 pound MK-82 high drag bombs had been released without incident, along with 6,900 rounds of 30mm target-practice rounds fired from the A-10's GAU-8/A Gatling guns. "This was my first time to see the A-10s in action and have been told what it sounds like when they fire the gun. It's definitely something you need to hear for yourself," said Airman Pincheira. "The training was great and I even got in some radio time with the pilots." The 47th FS flew a total of fifty-eight close-air-support missions during the two-week deployment.

CAS training in July on Yakima range is hot, dusty, and your only opportunity for shade might be underneath the backend of a Humvee, but you won't hear any complaining, because these JTACs and ROMADs know it will pay off when they're "downrange" on a mountainside somewhere in Afghanistan, calling in airstrikes to support their army buddies on the ground.

"This really gives our guys the opportunity to hone their CAS skills and expose them to what they'll see and experience once they're deployed," said Capt. Francis.

For the A-10 pilots of the 47th FS, who might someday find themselves flying over hostile Afghanistan airspace, they'll be waiting on the call from the JTACs of the 5th ASOS, who they consider to be one of the best combat CAS teams in the world.

In front of a picturesque setting, an A-10 Thunderbolt II comes in for a landing after completing a close-air-support mission on the Yakima bombing range. The 47th Fighter Squadron deployed six A-10s and flew 64 CAS sorties in support of Pacific Thunder, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, July 29, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Greg Steele) Hi-res

Note: The aircraft is A-10C 79-0150.


Brand-new 52nd OG A-10C bird

At Spangdahlem AB, Germany, Warthog News contributor Oliver Jonischkeit from Germany had the opportunity to take the following important shot, first-published on German Flugzeugforum:

A-10C 81-0966 from the 81th Fighter Squadron, brand new marked 52nd OG as the latest 52nd Operations Group aircraft, arriving at Spangdahlem AB, Germany, August 25, 2010. (Photo by Oliver Jonischkeit) Full size

Update August 28, 2010:

Yesterday, Oliver e-mailed me a close-up shot of the tail and told me that 81-0966 arrived after a ferry flight from Chaleroi (SABCA), Belgium.

355th Fighter Wing A-10C caught at Nellis August 25, 2010

On August 25, 2010, Warthog News contributor Bruce Smith from United States had the opportunity to take the following picture at Nellis AFB, Nevada:

A-10C 79-0168 with black fin flashes from the 358th Fighter Squadron, 355th Fighter Wing. (Photo by Bruce Smith) Full size

355th Fighter Wing A-10C caught at Nellis August 24, 2010

On August 24, 2010, Warthog News contributor Bruce Smith from United States had the opportunity to take the following picture at Nellis AFB, Nevada:

A-10C 80-0215 with black fin flashes from the 358th Fighter Squadron, 355th Fighter Wing. (Photo by Bruce Smith) Full size

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Behind the Scenes: The Making of an A-10C Pilot "Graduation"

by Capt. Stacie N. Shafran
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

8/25/2010 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- (Editor's note: Curious about what it takes to become an A-10 pilot? Follow along as this series showcases 1st Lt. Daniel Griffin's journey to becoming a fully qualified A-10C attack pilot.)

It was a celebration here Aug. 20 as 1st Lt. Dan "Pabst" Griffin and his 11 classmates became the Air Force's newest A-10C attack pilots.

Their afternoon graduation ceremony was held at the base theater in front of family, friends, their instructor pilots and teachers, and base leadership. It culminated 27 weeks of some of the most intense training these pilots will undergo in their entire Air Force career.

Over the past six months the pilots were assigned to the 358th Fighter Squadron, also known as the Lobos, as members of class "10-BBD" where instructor pilots taught them the basics about flying the A-10C.

This class was also the first to graduate the Lobos as A-10C pilots. For the past 32 years, previous classes were trained in the A-10A. While the A-10A underwent upgrades throughout its life with improvements to its navigational system, bombing computers, and digital countermeasures, the A-10C was the first upgrade extensive enough to generate a new model letter. These upgrades, along with the refurbishing of the A-10's wings, will contribute to sustaining the A-10 through 2028 ... long enough for these new attack pilots to keep flying it.

Graduation culminated 230 hours of academic instruction, more than 56 hours of simulator training, 42 sorties and 88 hours of flight time. This course was their last step in the training pipeline, following undergraduate pilot training and a fighter fundamentals course.

For Lieutenant Griffin, this day symbolized the completion of a goal he's held on to for 28 years.

And, as all of the students would attest to, reaching this milestone wouldn't have been possible without the support of their family members and loved ones.

Lieutenant Griffin's parents, John and Noeleen, his sister, Sarah, brother-in-law, Ryan, uncle, Kieran, aunts Karen and Maggie, friend Chris, and girlfriend, Amanda, all spent the weekend in Tucson sharing in the excitement. They also had the chance to see an A-10C up close and visit the 358th Fighter Squadron.

It didn't take me long, after spending some time around the Griffin family over the weekend, to realize this had become their goal as much as it was Lieutenant Griffin's. Their admiration and love for him radiated.

Having spent the past five months shadowing and reporting on this class, I can also say their success was attributed to the bond they shared with one another and their genuine desire to help one another succeed. Whether it was studying for tests, preparing for missions, or making sure they all had something to eat between classes and flights, they showcased some of the best teamwork I've ever seen.

In fact, the squadron's leadership and IPs often commented, in comparison to previous classes, about the tremendous amount of camaraderie the 12 pilots shared.

With training complete, Lieutenant Griffin and his classmates are now bound for their first operational assignments and some may even see combat within a matter of months.

They are all well prepared, though, to take on future challenges. All have worked extremely hard and are fiercely dedicated and committed to the task of protecting this country's sons and daughters.

Based on my last deployment, without a doubt, I know important work awaits these 12.
It wasn't long ago I was navigating Afghanistan's terrain as part of a provincial reconstruction team, anxiously looking upwards to make sure top cover had "checked in" to protect our convoys. Just seeing our U.S. military jets, or hearing their rumble, reassured my teammates, offering us the confidence to carry on with our mission.

Some of these jets and pilots turned out to be from the 354th Fighter Squadron, Davis-Monthan's only operational A-10C squadron, which was deployed to Kandahar Air Field in southern Afghanistan. During its unprecedented six-month tour, the squadron amassed more than 10,000 flight hours and 2,500 sorties, protecting countless ground forces.

Soon enough, the responsibility of protecting and saving our war fighters will belong to these new A-10C pilots. Godspeed, my friends.

The graduates of Class 10-BBD and their assignments are:
Capt. Aaron Bigler - 81st Fighter Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany
Capt. Patrick Chapman - 354th Fighter Squadron
Capt. Michael Dumas - 81st Fighter Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base
Capt. Rodney Dwyer - 81st Fighter Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base
Capt. Sean Jones - 74th Fighter Squadron, Moody Air Force Base, Ga.
Capt. Peter Moughan - 354th Fighter Squadron
Capt. Chris Palmer - 74th Fighter Squadron, Moody Air Force Base
Capt. James Schmidt - 81st Fighter Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base
Capt. Josh Stallard - 74th Fighter Squadron, Moody Air Force Base
1st Lt. Jason Attinger - 190th Fighter Squadron, Idaho Air National Guard
1st Lt. Michael Bermensolo - 190th Fighter Squadron, Idaho Air National Guard
1st Lt. Daniel Griffin - 104th Fighter Squadron, Maryland Air National Guard

As I sign off, I'd like to say it was an honor and privilege for my staff and I to bring our audience this unprecedented behind-the-scenes perspective about A-10C pilot training. Sharing in this journey with Lieutenant Griffin and his classmates reinforced the many valuable lessons I've learned throughout my Air Force career: the importance of preparation, teamwork, hard work, pride and honor.

Most of us will only see the jets fly overhead, taxi down the runway or take off. This series, through stories, photographs and videos, offered a behind-the-scenes perspective into Lieutenant Griffin's life as he became one of the Air Force's newest A-10C pilots. The series can be found on


Please note: Related pictures will be uploaded soon.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Grand Bay adds new moving target system

by Airman 1st Class Nicholas Benroth
23rd Wing Public Affairs

8/23/2010 - MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Moody's Grand Bay Bombing and Gunnery Range recently made an addition to their field to enhance training capabilities.

Grand Bay now offers the opportunity for our A-10C pilots to acquire proficiency in delivering their payload to a moving target on a 1,000 foot track. The target is remotely operated by a control tower. The operator can move the target back and forth with a flick of the wrist.

"Having the target system will provide the pilots with the training they will need to prepare them for their deployments without having to travel to other bases," said John Bishop, range coordinator. "It will also give these pilots very good practice since the moving targets simulate real life scenarios."

With the addition of the new target system, A-10C thunderbolt pilots will no longer have to be sent to other locations to complete their training prior to deploying.

"The new addition was a $175,000 project, but will end up saving millions for the base since we won't have to incur traveling expenses," said Perry Tillman, range manager. "We are trying to get the most out of this range by adding anything we can to help our units train for missions."

Along with A-10C pilots, the range will also provide an additional training venue for other Moody members, such as security forces.

"This new system is an excellent training tool for other members on base," said Mr. Bishop. "This is an excellent opportunity for our Airmen because it saves them a couple of months of training away from home since it can be done here."

The range is one of two on the east coast that the A-10s can practice and complete their training. It is located east of Moody in the Lanier and Lowndes counties.


Associated pictures:

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- An A-10C Thunderbolt II shows its munitions capability while in-flight during a training exercise here March 16, 2010. The moving target at Grand Bay Bombing and Gunnery Range is stationed on a 1,000-foot track and is remotely-controlled. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Benjamin Wiseman) Hi-res

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- An A-10C Thunderbolt II launches flares during a training exercise here March 16, 2010. The Grand Bay Bombing and Gunnery Range showcases a new moving target system that allows aircraft to fire at a more realistic object. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Benjamin Wiseman) Hi-res

Note: Another known picture of this archived photo sequence was already posted by me on my blog:

8/16/2010 - An A-10C Thunderbolt II returns to flight formation after exercising evasive maneuvering techniques during training here March 16, 2010. Moody A-10Cs will provide close air support to U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy forces during the three-week Enhanced Mojave Viper Exercise in Arizona. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Benjamin Wiseman) Hi-res

Note: This archived picture (not released before) is also part of the photo news release. It shows A-10C 79-0157 from the 75th Fighter Squadron. Sniper XR targeting pod on station 2.

355th Fighter Wing A-10Cs caught at Nellis August 20, 2010

On August 20, 2010, Warthog News contributor Bruce Smith from United States had the opportunity to take the following pictures at Nellis AFB, Nevada:

A-10C 78-0709 from the 355th Fighter Wing, still without new unit markings. (Photo by Bruce Smith) Full size

A-10C 79-0168 with black fin flashes from the 358th Fighter Squadron, 355th Fighter Wing. (Photo by Bruce Smith) Full size

A-10C 81-0997 from the 355th Fighter Wing, still without new squadron markings. (Photo by Bruce Smith) Full size

66th WPS A-10Cs caught at Nellis August 19, 2010

On August 19, 2010, Warthog News contributor Bruce Smith from United States had the opportunity to take the following pictures at Nellis AFB, Nevada:

A-10C 80-0234 from the 66th Weapons Squadron. Sniper XR targeting pod on station 10. (Photo by Bruce Smith) Full size

A-10C 80-0185 from the 66th Weapons Squadron. Sniper XR targeting pod on station 10. (Photo by Bruce Smith) Full size

A-10C 81-0946 from the 66th Weapons Squadron. Sniper XR targeting pod on station 10. (Photo by Bruce Smith) Full size

A-10C 81-0977 from the 66th Weapons Squadron, marked 57 OG as the 57th Operations Group bird. Sniper XR targeting pod on station 10. (Photo by Bruce Smith) Full size

422nd TES A-10C caught at Nellis August 19, 2010

On August 19, 2010, Warthog News contributor Bruce Smith from United States had the opportunity to take the following picture at Nellis AFB, Nevada:

A-10C 79-0199 from the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron. Sniper XR targeting pod on station 10. (Photo by Bruce Smith) Full size

422nd TES A-10C caught at Nellis August 11, 2010

On August 11, 2010, Warthog News contributor Bruce Smith from United States had the opportunity to take the following picture at Nellis AFB, Nevada:

A-10C 79-0171 from the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron. Sniper XR targeting pod on station 10. (Photo by Bruce Smith) Full size

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

More 355th Fighter Wing A-10s caught at D-M August 13, 2010

On August 13, 2010, Warthog News contributor James O'Rear from United States had the opportunity to take the following pictures at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona:

4-ship formation of A-10Cs arriving over Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona. From left to right: 78-0709, 79-0168, 80-0146, 82-0648. (Photo by James O'Rear) Full size

A-10C 79-0168 from the 358th Fighter Squadron. Sniper XR targeting pod on station 2. (Photo by James O'Rear)

A-10C 80-0215 from the 358th Fighter Squadron. Sniper XR targeting pod on station 2. (Photo by James O'Rear)

A-10C 82-0648 from the 354th Fighter Squadron. Sniper XR targeting pod on station 2. (Photo by James O'Rear)

80-0280. (Photo by James O'Rear)

81-0939. (Photo by James O'Rear)

A-10C 78-0709. Sniper XR targeting pod on station 2. (Photo by James O'Rear)

A-10C 81-0997. Sniper XR targeting pod on station 2. (Photo by James O'Rear)

82-0659. (Photo by James O'Rear)

78-0650. Sniper XR targeting pod on station 2. (Photo by James O'Rear)

80-0146. (Photo by James O'Rear)

A-10C 80-0167. AN-AAQ-28 LITENING AT targeting pod on station 2. (Photo by James O'Rear)

A-10C 80-0212 from the 357th Fighter Squadron. AN-AAQ-28 LITENING AT targeting pod on station 2. (Photo by James O'Rear)

80-0141. (Photo by James O'Rear)

79-0198. (Photo by James O'Rear)

78-0684 from the 357th Fighter Squadron on final. (Photo by James O'Rear)

A-10C 80-0274 turning to short final. Sniper XR targeting pod on station 2. (Photo by James O'Rear)

Monday, August 23, 2010

52nd Mission Support Group: the foundation of the wing

by 1st Lt. Kathleen Polesnak
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

8/20/2010 - SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- Boasting cops, firefighters, housing, warehouses, eateries, power lines, phone lines, dotted lines and more, the 52nd Mission Support Group may seem more like a small town than a robust collection of Air Force specialties and assets.

That's why Col. Jodine Tooke, 52nd MSG commander, likened herself to a mayor of a small town, overseeing about 3,000 Airmen and civilians - nearly 50 percent of the work force stationed here.

"When people ask me what I do, I often tell them I'm a mayor of a small town," Colonel Tooke said. "I handle everything from the protection at the main gate all the way to first response for in-flight emergencies on the airfield, including the support for infrastructure and facilities."

The 52nd MSG is made up of seven squadrons - more than any other group in the wing - with twice as many people as that of the 52nd Maintenance Group and nearly four times as many people as that of the 52nd Operations Group. The squadrons include security forces, logistics readiness, contracting, communications, civil engineering, force support and a support unit at Geilenkirchen Air Base, Germany.

But these units would be nonexistent if the mission they prop up was not here.
"The decision our Air Force has made in partnering with our European allies drives the need for a fighter presence, and in order to ensure that a fighter squadron can operate, it effectively requires the support functions. We really are fundamentally, simply, a support organization," Colonel Tooke said.

Like the foundation of a house, these support functions are often invisible to those who stand upon them. From the civil engineers who test the water people use here daily, to the communications technicians who maintain active phone and Internet connections for Airmen to communicate, to the loggies who make deployment possible, these functions are essential to mission effectiveness, Colonel Tooke said.

"Many of our functions are transparent and those transparent functions are the ones I think people overlook," she said. "You see a security forces guard at the gate, so in that way, they're visible, but there are other functions that aren't so visible - for instance, our contracting specialists help acquire equipment and services to safely keep deicing fluid runoff out of the environment.

"There are a lot of just-in-time things that happen, but they don't happen without planning and expertise."

One such "just -in-time" task was preparing weapons qualification for a group of last-minute deployers. The 81st Fighter Squadron, currently deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, with its fleet of A-10 Thunderbolt IIs, needed additional pilots, maintainers and support Airmen for the latter half of its tour.

With less than 24 hours notice, the security forces Combat Arms Training and Maintenance team organized the necessary training, qualifying all of the deployers on their weapons during a weekend session of back-to-back shooting.

"That's an example of our security forces providing the necessary training to the deploying warrior in order to meet the mission requirement," Colonel Tooke said. "And we do that all the time in a lot of different areas."

Even further reaching, the colonel explained, is the group's responsibility to assist tenant units and communities, such as the Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe, the 726th Air Mobility Squadron, geographically-separated units and the Canadian post stationed here.

"For us, mission always comes first - it really has to," Colonel Tooke said. "That said, people make it happen, so you've got to take care of those people. And taking care of those people isn't just giving them what they want - it's giving them what they need to succeed."

Whether the 52nd MSG supports 10 people or 10,000, Colonel Tooke emphasized how imperative stewardship is to the group's success.

"As the mission support group, we are entrusted with resources - be they people or facilities - from the American people," she said. "They've essentially gifted those things to us, and we need to take care of them as best we can to execute the mission at hand."

Editor's note: This is the first in a series of articles focusing on the Airmen and units of the 52nd Mission Support Group.


Note: For first time, this news article includes some official info about the reinforcement of the 81st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

In Memoriam: Marina Naumann - My third visit on her grave

This late-afternoon, I removed all of the roded flowers and made a new arrangement which will be only provisional. I planted a fresh chinese lampion (Physalis), and then I placed some remaining plants from the older stuff. Care of Marinas grave will be my part for the next 20 years.

The new arrangement. The grey lantern is from Marinas balkony. The banners at right are from Marinas sister Sylvia and heir husband Mathias, and also from Dennis, son of Sylvia and Mathias, and from Nadine, Dennis' girlfriend. The pieces in front of Marinas picture are acorns, collected by me on the urne field during my second visit. (Photo by Joachim Jacob)

Big surprise: As I removed the urne flowers from the centre of the grave, on the sand I saw a very small lizard. And then, after realizing that, I saw another but very smaller lizard. Probably a mother with her babe. That's phantastic. Marina loved animals. And now, some rare animals are around of her grave, including some little frogs. (Photo by Joachim Jacob)

BTW: Rainy day in my eyes again by posting that.

Let me post an e-mail from Warthog News contributor André Jans from the Netherlands:

Hi Joachim,

I am saddened to read at your A-10 blog that you lost a dear friend recently.

Life can be very unfair at times and is not understood by us humans at all.

Take care of yourselves. I never meet Marina or you but wouldn't it be her wish that you move on with your life and enjoy living it?

Sounds kind of a cliché but many friends who passed away expressed this wish before they vanished.


Wishing all best and much strength!

André Jans

The Netherlands

Saturday, August 21, 2010

New book: A-10 Warthog in Action by Lou Drendel

Updated September 2, 2010

In their well-known Aircraft in Action series, Squadron Signal Publications from Carrollton, Texas, USA, released a new photo book about the Hog: A-10 Warthog in Action by Lou Drendel. Item SS1218, Price $14.95.

Publisher's info:
The A-10 Warthog, a twin engine US Air Force ground attack jet, was designed and built from the wheels up for the sole purpose of supporting ground forces. Outwardly ugly and ungainly, the A-10 is one of the most efficient aerial killers ever to take to the sky. Sheathed in 900 pounds of titanium armor, the Warthog - whose official name is the Thunderbolt II - can survive direct hits from armor-piercing and high-explosive projectiles as large as 23mm. It has triple redundancy in its flight control systems, allowing pilots to fly and land when hydraulic power is out or part of a wing has been shot off. Introduced in the mid-1970s, the A-10 has seen service in the Gulf War of 1990-1991; in the Balkans, later in the 1990s; in Afghanistan after 2001; and in the occupation of Iraq, beginning in the spring of 2003. Illustrated with more than 106 photographs, 11 full color paintings, 43 detail drawings and 2 pages of 3-view drawings. Drendel; 56 pages. Source

Lou Drendel is an aviation artist, well-known for his great illustrations, especially for Squadron Signal. Already in 1981, he had published the book A-10 Warthog in action (1049). Source

Note: Special thanks to Warthog News contributor André Jans from the Netherlands for his notification of that in an e-mail to me today.

Update September 2, 2010:

Yesterday, I asked Lou for a little bit more info about the new content of this book, in comparison to the 1981 version. Today, from Lou I got the following e-mail:
Hi Joachim,

Thanks for posting the review on your site. I have asked Squadron/Signal to send you a review copy. Please provide a mailing address.

The new A-10 book includes a lot of the developmental history from the first book, which has been out of print for a long time, but very few of the original photos. About 90% of the photos in the new book are of more recent vintage, including a lot of coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is also a very good first-person narrative of A-10 flying in training and combat.


That sounds very good, Lou. And many thanks for your additional preview info. Dear Warthog News visitors, please look forward for an extensive review by me.

355th Fighter Wing A-10C caught at D-M August 13, 2010

On August 13, 2010, Warthog News contributor James O'Rear from United States had the opportunity to take the following picture at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona:

A-10C 81-0952 from the 355th Fighter Wing, but still without new unit markings, shooting the approach at Tucson International Airport, Arizona, August 13, 2010. (Photo by James O'Rear) Full size

Friday, August 20, 2010

In Memoriam: Marina Naumann - the very last picture of her

That's the very last picture of Marina: Virginia ("Gini") Diercks (at left) and Marina (at right) on Marina's couch during a visit by Virginia and Fred in Marina's appartment in spring 2010. Marina is very happy, although she was not in her best make-up conditions. For our last wheelchair trips, she looked sometime better. But their eyes were the same, with at least a little bit of hope to survive some more weeks.

Together with Gini and Fred, Marina and I, we spent four holidays at Alanya, Turkey. Mostly playing "Schnauzer" cards on the evenings. And: We had a huge lot of fun.

66th WPS A-10C caught at Nellis August 19, 2010

80-0234 WA 2010-08-19
Originally uploaded by EOR 1
At Nellis AFB, Nevada, Warthog News contributor Bruce Smith from United States had the opportunity to take the following shot of A-10C 80-0234 from the 66th Weapons Squadron:

Note: Sniper XR targeting pod on station 10. Full size

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Two-ship of A-10s caught at D-M August 13, 2010

On August 13, 2010, Warthog News contributor James O'Rear from United States had the opportunity to take the following picture at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona:

A two-ship formation of A-10 Thunderbolt IIs turning onto final approach. Lead is A-10C 80-0195 from the 354th Fighter Squadron and the other is 81-0942 belonging to the 358th Fighter Squadron. (Photo by James O'Rear) Full size