On Dec. 30, 2013, Arkansas Air National Guard’s 188th Fighter Wing at Ebbing Air National Guard Base, Fort Smith, Ark. flew one of the very last four-ship missions with the A-10C Thunderbolt (“Warthog”).
Indeed, the wing is currently transitioning from a fighter mission with the A-10C to an Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance mission with the Reaper drone.
The 188th has been equipped with the A-10s since April 2007 and has had assigned a manned aircraft on site since 1953. At a rate of two Warthogs per month since September 2013, the unit is planned to complete its 60-year history with military aircraft at Ebbing ANGB in June 2014.
The four-ship formation included Col. Mark Anderson (Tail No. 188), 188th Fighter Wing commander; Maj. Doug Davis (Tail No. 639), 188th Detachment 1 commander; Col. Brian Burger (Tail No. 613), 188th Operations Group commander; and Capt. Wade Hendrickson (Tail No. 638).
The aircraft flew over Razorback Range, at Fort Chaffee Maneuver Training Center, Ark., along with a 189th Airlift Wing C-130 Hercules which took some impressive air-to-air photos as those in this post.
Currently, the 188th flies with nine remaining A-10s: the last pair of Thunderbolts departed for Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, to join the 75th Fighter Squadron on Jan. 15.
The U.S. Air Force plans to retire the A-10C aircraft, its best CAS (Close Air Support) asset, between 2015 and 2018, even if the deadline might be postponed until 2028.
Image credit: 188th FW / U.S. Air Force
Where are the A10s going? I hope that they will continue to server with another unit.
What about Mark Eisenhower?