For soldiers, Marines, or Special Ops forces on the ground, the A-10 Warthog is beloved, revered and depended upon like no other air asset. The Air Force and the Marines pilot these beautiful beasts and, for our troops on the ground, the “Warthog” truly is their best friend and correspondingly, the worst enemy for those who try to attack them.
This video will give you a sense of why the A-10 is such a valuable asset to the front line units on the ground. She is not pretty. Her dimensions and profile are not intended to make her strut like a peacock. To both her pilots and the troops on the ground, she is in every way a “Warthog,” tough, ugly, mean and fearless. Those A-10s and their pilots are the most loved and the most feared of all the aerial support platforms that we can bring to bear on the enemy in battlefield situations.
It is said of the A-10 that it is “a gun with an airplane attached.” The gun is 21 feet long and weighs in at 4,000 lbs. fully loaded. It can fire 1,000 30mm rounds at a rate of 30 rounds/second. This is why they are known for their distinctive, long “brrrrp” growl. The gun is capable destroying everything from tanks to buildings, static and moving targets. It is also very precise. From an altitude of 4,000 ft. it can hit within 40 feet of a target.
Anything within that 40 feet is going to have a very bad day.
When the A-10 is “fully dressed” for the dance, it can carry just about every kind of ordinance the Air Force has, from air to air missiles, sensors and flares, precision guided missiles, bombs and rockets. In short, the A-10 can bring to bear a whole bunch of firepower in defense of their troops on the ground.
If you talk to a Gulf War, or an Iraq or Afghanistan war veteran who has been the the personal beneficiary of the Warthog’s aerial support in the Iraq deserts or cities, or in the mountainous terrains of Afghanistan, you will hear nothing but superlatives. When one of those A-10s was rumbling above or when that gun was growling its message to the enemy around them, they knew that they were protected by the best machines and the most determined pilots in the air.
The A-10 “Warthog” is threatened with being gradually phased out. For those who saw it in action, who benefited from its tough, almost indestructible prowess over them when they were fighting often superior numbers on the ground, this will be hard to take.
To those who so skillfully piloted the Warthog in defense of their brothers and sisters on the ground, we give our deepest thanks. You and that beast, the A-10 “Warthog”, will be remembered fondly. The A-10 and the pilots have already earned an honored place in military history.
Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.