Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II (Warthog)

Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II (Warthog)

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A-10, Fairchild (Warthog)

Technically called the Thunderbolt II, the A-10 or Warthog as it has been nicknamed is one of the most distinctive modern combat aircraft of today. Its strange and somewhat ugly twin tailed , twin engined design makes it superb at its low level interdiction and tank busting role.

The twin tails help shield the engines heat signature and are fully interchangeable since the A-10 is also very tough and easy to maintain. The A-10 is well plated with titanium including the cockpit and control column linkages, and is able to carry 16,000lbs of external weaponry in addition to its General Electric GAU-8 Avenger seven barrelled 30 mm galting which alone weights 1856Kg (4,091lbs) and is 6.71m (22ft) long. The shells which can armour piercing or High explosive weight 2lbs each and can be fired at a rate of 2,100rpm or 4,200 rpm, although to avoid over heating the fire rate has been reduced to 10, 2 second bursts with a 60 second cooling period between each burst. The first full production version came into service in Feb 1976 and the A-10 saw active service in the Gulf War 1990/91 nearly 15 years later. Only the USA operates the A-10 although the Russian Frogfoot fulfils a similar role on the battlefield although it lacks the firepower of the A-10. The A-10 has nearly been withdrawn from service several times and is finally due to be replaced by the JAST project.

Maximum speed; 424mph (682 Km/h)
Max weapon load; 7257Kg (16,000lbs)
Combat radius 463km (288 miles) with 1.7 hours loiter or 998km(620miles) deep strike

Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II

The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is a single-seat, twin turbofan engine, straight wing jet aircraft developed by Fairchild-Republic for the United States Air Force (USAF). It is commonly referred to by the nicknames "Warthog" or "Hog", although the A-10's official name comes from the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, a World War II fighter-bomber effective at attacking ground targets. [4] The A-10 was designed for close air support (CAS) of friendly ground troops, attacking armored vehicles and tanks, and providing quick-action support against enemy ground forces. It entered service in 1976 and is the only production-built aircraft that has served in the USAF that was designed solely for CAS. Its secondary mission is to provide forward air controller-airborne support, by directing other aircraft in attacks on ground targets. Aircraft used primarily in this role are designated OA-10.

A-10 / OA-10 Thunderbolt II
An A-10 with shark teeth nose art from the 74th Fighter Squadron after taking on fuel over Afghanistan (2011)
Role Close air support attack aircraft
National origin United States
Manufacturer Fairchild Republic
First flight 10 May 1972 49 years ago ( 1972-05-10 )
Introduction October 1977 [1]
Status In service
Primary user United States Air Force
Produced 1972–1984 [2]
Number built 716 [3]

The A-10 was intended to improve on the performance and firepower of the A-1 Skyraider. The A-10 was designed around the 30 mm GAU-8 Avenger rotary cannon. Its airframe was designed for durability, with measures such as 1,200 pounds (540 kg) of titanium armor to protect the cockpit and aircraft systems, enabling it to absorb a significant amount of damage and continue flying. Its short takeoff and landing capability permits operation from airstrips close to the front lines, and its simple design enables maintenance with minimal facilities. The A-10 served in the Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm), the American–led intervention against Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, where the aircraft distinguished itself. The A-10 also participated in other conflicts such as in Grenada, the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, and against the Islamic State in the Middle East.

The A-10A single-seat variant was the only version produced, though one pre-production airframe was modified into the YA-10B twin-seat prototype to test an all-weather night capable version. In 2005, a program was started to upgrade the remaining A-10A aircraft to the A-10C configuration, with modern avionics for use with precision weaponry. The U.S. Air Force had stated the F-35 would replace the A-10 as it entered service, but this remains highly contentious within the USAF and in political circles. With a variety of upgrades and wing replacements, the A-10's service life can be extended to 2040 the service has no planned retirement date as of June 2017 [update] . [5]


  • Development 1
    • Background 1.1
    • A-X program 1.2
    • Upgrades 1.3
    • Other uses 1.4
    • Overview 2.1
    • Durability 2.2
    • Weapons 2.3
    • Modernization 2.4
    • Colors and markings 2.5
    • Introduction 3.1
    • Gulf War and Balkans 3.2
    • Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and recent deployments 3.3
    • Proposed retirement 3.4
    • Former operators 5.1
    • Notes 11.1
    • Citations 11.2
    • Bibliography 11.3

    Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II

    14 Reviews - Click to read

    A 1/100 diecast scale model of a US Air Force Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II (Also known as the Warthog or Hog).

    A single-seat, twin turbofan engine developed for the United States Air Force, designed for close air support, attacking armored vehicles and tanks along with quick-action support against enemy ground forces.

    Includes a free display stand.

    This model has a wingspan width of 16.5cm and a nose-to-tail length of 17.5cm.

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    A-10C Thunderbolt II

    A 1/72 premium diecast scale model of a Fairchild Republic A-10C Thunderbolt II, 81-0976, 354th FS "Bulldogs", Incirlik AFB, April 2017.

    This premium model features:

    • Diecast metal with a minimal use of plastic
    • Professionally painted with exceptional detail
    • Canopy can be displayed open or closed
    • Lots of optional armament also provided
    • Landing gear is detachable (display with it up or down)
    • Includes a display stand


    I guess I hadn't read the description properly, but was expecting a slightly bigger model. However, it looks great and sits on my desk without taking up too much space. Very happy with it!

    very good for how much it costed. took a little over a month to come in but that is understandable with the current pandemic going on. overall, for around $60 it is very good and i plan to order another model from this site again.

    A 1/100 diecast scale model of a US Air Force Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II (Also known as the Warthog or Hog).

    A single-seat, twin turbofan engine developed for the United States Air Force, designed for close air support, attacking armored vehicles and tanks along with quick-action support against enemy ground forces.

    Includes a free display stand.

    This model has a wingspan width of 16.5cm and a nose-to-tail length of 17.5cm.

    Operation Red Wings through the eyes of the Night Stalkers

    Posted On July 27, 2020 08:05:14

    The sun was fading behind Afghanistan’s Hindu Kush mountains the evening of June 27, 2005, as a team of four U.S. Navy SEALs walked up the ramp and into the back of U.S. Army Captain Matt Brady’s MH-47 Chinook helicopter on Bagram Air Base.

    Tasked with inserting the SEAL special reconnaissance (SR) team deep into enemy territory in unforgiving terrain, Brady knew the SEALs — Lieutenant Michael Murphy, Petty Officer 2nd Class Danny Dietz, Petty Officer 2nd Class Marcus Luttrell, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew Axelson — had a difficult mission ahead. Marines in the area knew it was an extremely dangerous place filled with Taliban fighters.

    Brady had no way of knowing at the time, but it would be the last time anyone at Bagram would ever see three of those four Americans alive.

    The Afghanistan mountains and forest from the valley where soldiers searched for the remains of the three SEALs who were killed in action. Photo courtesy of Steven Smith.

    The Army’s elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) is known for having some of the most skilled aviators in the world, who fly the most elite special operators into some of the most austere environments on earth using the most advanced aircraft in the U.S. military inventory. They are famous for the roles they played in both the Battle of Mogadishu and the mission to kill Usama Bin Laden but are revered throughout the special operations community for acts of valor that often never see the light of day due to the classified nature of their work.

    As a pilot in the 160th, Brady was the air mission commander for the operation. He and some of his fellow “Night Stalkers” felt the SEALs’ plan was too risky.

    The mission was to capture or kill Ahmad Shah, a Taliban commander. The three-phase plan called for inserting a four-man SR team the first night, then inserting the second element of SEALs the following night to establish an isolation zone around Shah. Finally, 150 U.S. Marines would come in to establish blocking positions for the SEALs’ assault on Shah’s compound.

    The Night Stalkers’ job was to insert the SEALs on a ridgeline where the terrain left few options for landing zones. The commandos would have to descend from a rope — fast-rope — while the helos hovered high above the trees. That meant if the SEALs got into trouble, extraction would potentially require the use of a hoist to pull the SEALs out, which was a time-consuming and dangerous option.

    As he approached the insertion site, Brady could see lights dotting the mountains below through his night-vision goggles.

    An MH-47 Chinook with 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment and a KC-130J Super Hercules with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 conduct aerial refueling during Exercise Yuma Horizon 19. Photo by Lance Cpl. Seth Rosenberg, courtesy of DVIDS.

    “This was a desolate part of the Hindu Kush, and at night, you wouldn’t really expect to see much,” Brady told Coffee or Die. “Not really sure who they were, but there was more activity than I expected.”

    As the pilots climbed the last 1,000 feet of elevation, the AC-130 crew providing overwatch on their destination radioed to say they had to leave their position due to a mechanical issue. Brady knew that surveillance aircraft going off station without backup was supposed to result in aborting the mission.

    He asked the AC-130 crew for one final report on the four potential landing zones the Night Stalkers had identified for the mission.

    “We’ve got two military-aged males, possibly armed, on the northernmost LZ,” the crew reported. “Primary and secondary zones appear to be clear of potential threats.”

    Believing the gunship could make it back on station in time for the insertion, Brady made the call to continue the mission.

    From left, SGT Carlos Pacheco (3/160 medic, former 3/75), SFC Marcus V. Muralles (Legend – 3/160 medic), MAJ Sam Sauer (3/160 flight surgeon), SFC L.E. Shroades (medic R/160), SGT Dan Bell (E Co/160) during during the timeframe of Operation Red Wings. Photo courtesy of Daniel Bell.

    Approaching the insertion point, the pilots flared the Chinook and came into a hover. As the lead aircraft descended, it became clear the LZ was on a steep slope of the mountain, making descent difficult due to the front rotors approaching the mountainside faster than the rear of the aircraft.

    “Hold your right and left hold your front and rear,” came the internal radio traffic from the flight engineer to Brady.

    There were 100-foot-tall trees on all sides of the Chinook, and they were so close the pilots had no room to sway as they descended.

    “When you hear all four directions, everyone gets pretty tense,” Brady said. “It means you can’t drift any direction without crashing.”

    The pilots descended to the point where the Chinook’s front rotor was just a few feet away from the mountainside with tall trees all around the aircraft. The flight crew kicked out the ropes, and the SEALs fast-roped down.

    When the crew chief tried to pull the rope up, they found it was entangled below. After several tense moments of struggling to bring in the rope, they decided to cut it loose. The odds of enemy fighters hearing the echo of the dual-rotor helicopter increased every second it remained in a hover. The SEALs did their best to hide the rope and keep their presence on the ridgeline hidden from enemy fighters.

    It wasn’t an ideal insertion, but the Night Stalkers had accomplished their mission. They ascended and flew back to Jalalabad to link up with another group of SEALs and standby as a quick reaction force (QRF) in case the SR team was compromised.

    At Jalalabad, Brady was approached by SEAL Commander Erik Kristensen in the command operations center. Kristensen confronted him about the decision to cut the rope at the LZ and asked if the Night Stalkers would go back and retrieve it.

    A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter from 1-228th Aviation Regiment conducting hoist operations. Photo by Spc. Steven K. Young, courtesy of DVIDS.

    “We would have to drop a man down with a hoist in that hole of an LZ,” Brady explained. “Hoisting a man at that altitude on that kind of terrain at night is a dangerous operation. Once on the ground, they’d have to pick up the rope, hook it to themselves, and get hoisted back up. Hovering for that long over the same spot would burn the LZ and likely alert the enemy to the SR team’s presence.”

    Kristensen agreed with Brady’s evaluation, and after the SR team radioed that they would be laying down for the day in their hide site, Brady and Kristensen called it a night.

    Walking toward the flight line, the SEAL commander quipped, “What made you want to fly such ugly helicopters?”

    “They’re not much to look at, but they get the job done,” Brady fired back. “Kind of like SEALs.”

    They shared a laugh as they loaded up for the flight back to Bagram.

    At the Bagram operations center, Major Stephen Reich approached Brady urgently, asking why he didn’t follow abort criteria and fly back with the SR team after the AC-130 had to leave the airspace.

    Brady said he estimated the AC-130 would only be off station briefly and that the crew had reported no hostile activity on the LZ. He told Reich pushing the mission back would allow Shah to continue his terrorist activities, likely leading to the death of locals and U.S. military in the area.

    “Good,” Brady recalled Reich saying. “I’m glad you’re a thinking air mission commander and not simply one that takes a black-and-white view of the situation.”

    With that, they retired to their rooms to rest for phase two of the operation the following night.

    Some of the Night Stalkers hanging out in the B huts they slept in, enjoying much needed down time. Photo courtesy of Matt Rogie.

    As the Night Stalkers slept, the SR team was discovered by a numerically superior force of enemy fighters. They engaged in a fierce firefight, and at some point the task force lost contact with them.

    Brady’s maintenance officer woke him and said the SR team was in trouble and the Night Stalkers had orders to spin up and pull the team out.

    “That’s not possible,” Brady replied, confused at how quickly the SEALs had become compromised. “They’ve got their own quick reaction force. We’re completely separate commands. It doesn’t make sense.”

    But he knew and lived by the Night Stalkers’ promise to every customer: “If we put you in, we’ll stop at nothing to get you out — even if it’s technically someone else’s job.”

    Brady rushed to the operations center where Chief Warrant Officer 4 Chris Eicher was telling the task force commander that they should wait until dark before sending the QRF because going in during daylight would subject them to more danger. The 160th had only lost helicopters during daylight missions at that point — they’re called Night Stalkers for a reason.

    The commander explained that the ground force commander had already rejected that plan and didn’t want to wait any longer.

    Brady ran over to where his platoon sergeant, Sergeant First Class Mike Russell, was sleeping and updated him on what had unfolded.

    “Are you serious?” Russell replied.

    Russell went to work right away getting the crews together to prep the aircraft for the mission.

    Three of the 160th’s MH-47D Chinooks on the flight line in Bagram, Afghanistan. Photo courtesy of Matt Rogie.

    Back in the operations center, leaders were busy trying to figure out the SEALs’ last known location and calculating how many soldiers each helicopter could fly with. They finalized plans and sent the Night Stalkers on their way.

    As Brady approached the Chinook he’d be flying, he noticed the tail number: 1-4-6. The bird’s call sign was Turbine 33. Kristensen and his SEALs were waiting on the ramp, standing in a circle.

    “Our plan of action is for you to get us to the high ground as close to the troops in contact as you can, and we’re going to fight our way downhill,” Brady recalled Kristensen saying.

    Since the SEALs weren’t sure where exactly the compromised team was located, Kristensen believed inserting at a position of tactical advantage was the best option.

    “Drop us on the high ground, and we’ll make our way to our swim buddies,” Kristensen told Brady.

    Navy SEALs operating in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. From left to right, sonar technician (surface) Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew G. Axelson, of Cupertino, California Senior Chief information systems technician Daniel R. Healy, of Exeter, New Hampshire quartermaster Petty Officer 2nd Class James Suh, of Deerfield Beach, Florida hospital corpsman Petty Officer 2nd Class Marcus Luttrell machinists mate Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric S. Patton, of Boulder City, Nevada and Lt. Michael P. Murphy, of Patchogue, New York With the exception of Luttrell, all were killed June 28, 2005, by enemy forces while supporting Operation Red Wing. Photo courtesy of DVIDS.

    As Brady climbed into Turbine 33 and started strapping in, Reich tapped his shoulder and asked what the plan was. Reich, who had been designated mission commander for phase two of the operation, felt the QRF was his responsibility.

    “We argued for what seemed like 10 minutes but was actually about 30 seconds,” Brady recalled.

    But Reich cut the debate short. “I don’t really care, Matt,” he told Brady, “just get your stuff and get off the airplane. This is my mission.”

    Brady said he pleaded with Reich to at least let him come with and act as an extra gun and set of eyes.

    “Nope, I want you to take my spot as the operations officer and monitor from here,” Reich replied.

    Disappointed, Brady followed the order and got off the aircraft. As he watched the two Chinooks taxiing onto the runway, he locked eyes with Russell, his platoon sergeant.

    “He had a look of competence and professionalism — like he was ready to live out the Night Stalker creed,” Brady said.

    He walked back to the operations center to monitor the situation and provide support from Bagram.

    Matt Rogie, left, and Matt Brady having jovial conversation in Bagram. Photo courtesy of Matt Rogie.

    The two Chinooks — Turbine 33 and Turbine 34 — were packed with 16 SEALs each, plus the Night Stalker pilots and crewman. Flying toward Jalalabad en route to the last known position of the SEALs, they received word from Bagram on the number of men they could have on board each aircraft and still fly at the extreme elevation. They would have to offload eight SEALs from each helicopter before continuing.

    “A lot of guys really wanted to stay on the mission,” recalled Chief Warrant Officer 3 Tim Graham, one of the pilots on Turbine 34.

    The plan was for the SEALs to fast-rope onto the ridgeline above the original LZ. The Night Stalkers would then circle back and pick up the remaining SEALs who offloaded at Jalalabad.

    During the flight, the Night Stalkers passed two Apache gunships whose pilots asked if they wanted to slow down so they could provide surveillance and support for the operation. Not wanting to burn valuable time waiting on approval from the task force commander for the audible, the Night Stalkers continued on without the Apaches.

    Tim Graham standing by in Bagram. Photo courtesy of Matt Rogie.

    Arriving at the insertion point on the ridgeline, Turbine 33 descended into a hover. Graham watched from Turbine 34 as Turbine 33’s ramp lowered and the crewman walked onto it to observe the landing zone below. Graham’s aircraft pulled off to the right to circle around and insert their payload of SEALs after Turbine 33 moved off to allow their entrance.

    That’s when Staff Sergeant Steven Smith, the flight engineer in the rear of Turbine 34, saw a smoke trail emerge from the tree line directly toward Turbine 33. The projectile flew through the open ramp of the Chinook and exploded inside. Turbine 33’s nose dipped down, and the aircraft slid to the left, appearing to almost recover. Then the helo’s blades started hitting each other, and the aircraft rolled to the right before inverting as it descended to the mountainous terrain below.

    Smith and the others in Turbine 34 watched helplessly as the Chinook full of their fellow aviators — their friends — crashed into the mountain and erupted in a ball of flames.

    “Al and Kip were on the ramp when the RPG impacted,” Smith, who witnessed the horrific event, recalled. “They rode it all the way in that way.”

    Soldiers sit on the rear deck of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter while flying over southern Afghanistan Oct. 19, 2010. Photo by Cpl. Robert Thaler, courtesy of DVIDS.

    Graham and his co-pilot whipped their Chinook around to look for survivors. As they were turning around, Graham saw five Black hawks performing a star-cluster evasion. Turbine 34 started taking heavy gunfire from unseen fighters below. They broke off and flew out of reach of the enemy fire.

    Graham reported the situation back to Bagram. Receiving the transmission, Brady couldn’t believe it. He would have been on that bird were it not for the last minute change. He asked Graham to repeat, unable to register what he had just heard.

    One of Brady’s soldiers in the operations center was asking him a question, but Brady was momentarily frozen with shock. Then the realization hit: He was now in charge.

    Brady told his operations NCO to give him a minute to gather more information to get the next plan of action in place. He walked out of the operations center and found Eicher.

    “Chris, Turbine 33 has just been shot down,” he told Eicher, who earned the nickname “Iceman” for his always cool demeanor.

    Eicher looked at Brady and said, “Nah, they probably put down for maintenance.”

    Brady persisted with the details. He and Eicher hurried back to the operations center.

    The two Apaches had arrived on station, drawing heavy gunfire, but nonetheless giving Turbine 34’s crew back in the operations center a good look at the crash site.

    “It didn’t look like there was any way anybody could have survived,” Graham said. “You hope they could. It just didn’t look good.”

    The crash site of Turbine 33. Photo courtesy of Steven Smith.

    They ascended back into orbit and remained there for an hour until the task force commander ordered them back to Jalalabad. Not wanting to leave their brothers, the SEAL team commander hatched a plan with the Night Stalkers to insert higher up on the ridgeline and fight their way down to the crash site so Turbine 34 could fly back to Jalalabad, pick up as many SEALs as he could, and fly back to reinforce the eight SEALs. The task force commander denied the request and ordered Turbine 34 back to Jalalabad. Frustrated and angry, Graham followed the order.

    Smith said everyone on the Chinook was angry. One of the SEALs even drew his pistol and attempted unsuccessfully to force the Chinook to land so they could try to save their friends.

    Graham made a stop at a Forward Arming and Refueling Point (FARP) just outside of Jalalabad. After landing, Graham saw the same five Black Hawks that had peeled off earlier parked on the runway. He didn’t think much of it at the time, but many years later he found out a new platoon leader came into their company within the 160th and was responsible for those Black Hawks.

    Each of the five Black Hawks was loaded with Marines and had flown out thinking they were the QRF for the SR team. When Turbine 33 was shot down, they received orders to fly back along with Turbine 34 and the Apache gunships until the next phase of the mission was developed.

    Flight line view of U.S. Army UH-60L Black Hawk helicopters. Photo by Mark C. Olsen, courtesy of DVIDS.

    After refueling, he continued on to Jalalabad and off-loaded.

    “When I met him there on the ground in Jalalabad, Graham was fairly shaken to say the least,” Brady recalled.

    The task force commander debriefed the men and then focused on planning their next steps.

    Smith said he saw a line of armored vehicles full of troops.

    “I could see a lot of vehicles with troops armed to the damn teeth,” Smith recalled. “They rolled out with a convoy and with some vengeance, and they fought their way up that mountainside, all the way up to the crash site.”

    The remaining Night Stalkers prepared for a rescue operation. Navy SEALs, Army Rangers, and other Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) personnel loaded onto five Chinooks. All the men were anxious, angry, and ready to retrieve their brothers in arms.

    The Chinooks took off toward the mountains once again, but as they climbed in elevation, severe weather rolled in. Thunder boomed as lightning struck all around them.

    “So the enemy is one factor, but the terrain and weather are now a huge factor, and they’re starting to overtake the enemy in terms of danger to the force,” Brady said.

    He said visibility got so bad that he couldn’t see the heat glow of the engines from the Chinook in front of him. The order was given to again abort the mission and return to base. It was a gut-wrenching decision for everyone on the mission, as they knew the original SEALs on the SR team were fighting for their lives and one of their own aircraft and crew was burning on the side of a mountain.

    Back at Jalalabad, the commanders decided they had no choice but to wait for better weather and try again the next night.

    Troops searching for the KIA and survivors. Photo courtesy of Matt Rogie.

    As the storm raged, the members of the task force — haunted with thoughts of their brothers on the mountain — tried to sleep.

    As the next night approached, the task force went to work, planning another insertion onto the deadly ridgeline. The Night Stalkers again loaded their Chinooks with Rangers and SEALs and took off toward the mountains.

    Arriving on site, the task force members fast-roped in. The extreme height of the trees made the full length of rope — approximately 90 feet — necessary. Many of the men suffered scorched hands from gripping the rope through gloves for such a long descent.

    Once on the ground, they started their search for casualties, potential survivors, and sensitive equipment.

    As the Night Stalkers flew back to Bagram, the JSOC ground force that had convoyed to the crash radioed to the task force that they had secured the site. There were no survivors.

    The JSOC troops, along with their newly arrived reinforcements, went to work recovering those killed in action as well as sensitive equipment that could not fall into enemy hands. They then used explosives to clear out a large enough area for Chinooks to land when they came back.

    Explosives were used to chop down trees due to width of the trees being too big for chainsaws. Photo courtesy of Steven Smith.

    Chief Warrant Officer 4 Matt Rogie arrived in Bagram just before the Night Stalkers came back after dropping off the recovery force. Assigned to replace Eicher as senior flight lead, he was trying to learn as much as he could before hopping into an aircraft and joining the mission.

    Rogie met Eicher on the flight line when he landed after returning from the mission.

    “I’m glad you’re here because I am spent,” Eicher told him.

    The Night Stalkers flew back to their newly forged landing zone the following night. The weather was turning bad again as they offloaded Marines to assist with security.

    “I could see the grass being blown by the rotor wash and all the remains bags being lined up in a row — 16 of them,” Rogie recalled. “There was still some smoldering from the crash site, and I could see the glow from the heat through my night vision.”

    Some of the fallen members of Turbine 33 prior to being flown out. Photo courtesy of Steven Smith.

    One by one, the Rangers and SEALs loaded the fallen onto the Chinooks and headed back to Bagram with their brothers. The flight back was pure silence. The loss weighed heavy on the men.

    As the Night Stalkers approached Bagram they could see what looked like everyone on base standing outside, showing their respect for the fallen.

    “When we landed, we just saw a row of Night Stalkers and Rangers and SEALs for as far as I could see, lined up and ready to help transport the remains off and take them to the mortuary affairs section,” Brady recalled.

    When the ramp lowered, the Night Stalkers on the Chinooks stood tall and proud for their fallen brethren as task force members boarded and began solemnly moving each remains bag to the mortuary affairs building.

    “All of us were pretty broken up at that point,” Rogie said.

    Pastors from the task force lead the caskets onto the C-17. Photo courtesy of Daniel Bell.

    The C-17 sat on the runway with the ramp down, waiting to receive the 16 interment cases containing the fallen warriors. Brady stood next to a SEAL commander — both had to take command of their respective units when Reich and Kristensen were killed on Turbine 33. Their war-weary faces were chiseled stone as they watched the task force solemnly load 16 flag-draped internment cases into the C-17.

    Brady said it seemed like the whole base turned out to give the fallen a proper sendoff. As the cases were being loaded, a SEAL ran up to the new SEAL commander and placed a written note in his hand. The note said that Marcus Luttrell was alive at a nearby village. The SEAL commander broke down and cried at the desperately needed positive news.

    The fallen Night Stalkers of the 160th SOAR included:

    Staff Sergeant Shamus O. Goare

    Chief Warrant Officer Corey J. Goodnature

    Sergeant First Class Marcus V. Muralles

    Sergeant First Class Michael L. Russell

    Chief Warrant Officer Chris J. Scherkenbach

    Master Sergeant James W. Ponder III

    Soldiers and Sailors from the Task Force saying their final goodbyes. Photo courtesy of Daniel Bell.

    The members of the task force said their final goodbyes. The C-17 closed its ramp and taxied down the runway and took flight. The fallen warriors were now on their way home.

    The lone C-17 aircraft lumbered through the sky after departing Germany, a necessary stop on the way back to the United States. The back of the aircraft contained the flag-draped coffins of 16 great Americans: the fallen Night Stalkers and SEALs from Turbine 33.

    Children of varying ages ran around the coffins, playing and yelling, not yet old enough to understand the sacrifices these warriors made. A Taliban high-value target (HVT) sat tucked into the corner away from them all, guarded by other soldiers.

    Three war-weary escorts — one of them a SEAL and the other two Night Stalkers Daniel Bell and Chris Eicher — sat off to the sides, grimly staring off into space. They were exhausted and angry with the mistake the U.S. Air Force had made when they allowed Space-A seating to be filled on this leg of the flight home.

    The men of the task force saying their final goodbyes to the fallen before they are flown home to their final resting place. Photo courtesy of Matt Rogie.

    The rescue operation, known as Operation Red Wings II, continued for weeks. Almost every variety of special operations troops in the U.S. military inventory participated in a coordinated effort through some of Afghanistan’s most dangerous and austere terrain during the search for their brothers — both alive and fallen.

    Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell was the only survivor from the initial four-man SEAL reconnaissance element.

    For the Night Stalkers of the famed 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, the war on terror continued.

    This article originally appeared on Coffee or Die. Follow @CoffeeOrDieMag on Twitter.

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    Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II

    Battlefield tank-killer, heavily armored and built around a powerful 30 mm gun and its enormous munition drum. The large unswept wing, the two turbofan engines in pods on top of the fuselage, and twin tailfins are all designed to keep the A-10 flying after suffering serious damage. The cockpit is armored to resist 23 rounds.

    The first production A-10A was delivered to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, AZ., in October 1975. It was designed specially for the close air support mission and had the ability to combine large military loads, long loiter, and wide combat radius, which proved to be vital assets to America and its allies during Operation Desert Storm. In the Gulf War A-10s, with a mission capable rate of 95.7 percent, flew 8,100 sorties and launched 90 percent of the AGM-5 Maverick missiles used there.

    Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Air & Space &bull Military. A significant historical month for this entry is October 1975.

    Location. 33° 39.681′ N, 78° 55.708′ W. Marker is in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in Horry County. Marker is on Farrow Parkway. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Myrtle Beach SC 29577, United States of America. Touch for directions.

    Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Myrtle Beach Air Force Base (here, next to this marker) P-51 Mustang (a few steps from this marker) 354th Wing Inactivation (a few steps

    Hot Wheels Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt

    Hot Wheels Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt

    Circa 1989
    My plane is a little beat up. Looks like it's been in a few crashes. And the gun looks like somebody chewed on it?

    The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is a single-seat, twin turbofan engine, straight wing jet aircraft developed by Fairchild-Republic for the United States Air Force (USAF).

    Commonly referred to by the nicknames "Warthog" or "Hog", although the A-10's official name comes from the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, a World War II fighter-bomber effective at attacking ground targets. . The A-10 was intended to improve on the performance of the A-1 Skyraider and its lesser firepower.

    Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II (Warthog) vs Sukhoi Su-25 Grach (Frogfoot)

    1 x 30mm General Electric GAU-8/A seven-Barrel Gatling Gun mounted under the nose.

    Up to 16,000 pounds (7,200 kilograms) of mixed ordnance across eleven underwing and underfuselage pylon stations, including:

    AGM-65 Maverick Missiles (IR/Laser homing)
    AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles
    2.75-inch Rocket Pods
    Mk 82 Series 500lb Bombs
    Mk 84 Series 2,000lb Bombs
    Incendiary Cluster Bombs
    Combined Effects Munitions
    Mine Dispensing Munitions
    Paveway Laser-guided / Electro-Optically Guided Bombs.
    Infra-red Countermeasure Flares
    Electronic Countermeasure Chaff
    Jammer Pods
    Illumination Flares

    1 x 30mm GSh-30-2 / AO-17A internal cannon.

    Up to 9,700 lb of external ordnance including rocket pods, guided munitions, conventional dumb bombs, laser-guided air-to-surface missiles/bombs, cluster bombs and air-to-air missiles. Also jettisonable fuel tanks as needed.

    Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II

    Built around the gigantic 30-mm GAU-8 Avenger cannon, the A-10 Thunderbolt II is called the Warthog by its pilots. Despite its ugly looks and nasty nicknames, the A-10 is a remarkable tank killer built to withstand extensive damage. During the 1991 Gulf War, the A-10 proved itself by successfully conducting missions in very hostile environments. An A-10 driver even shot down an Iraki helicopter.

    1.This A-10A Thunderbolt II belonging to the USAF 10th Tactical Fighter Wing is exposed at RAF Alconbury. In addition to being one of the ugliest aircraft around, this specific aircraft was lucky enough to receive a rather ugly paint scheme. The Phoenix nose art is rather unusual.(Thanks to JS).

    2. A-10A s/n 79-164 of the Air Force Reserve, Whiteman AFB, Missouri.

    3. This A-10A Thunderbolt II of the 103rd FS of the Pennsylvania ANG wears the standard european colour scheme, NAS Norfolk, april 1995. Notice that this is the same paint scheme as n°1 but with slightly less flashy colours.

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    Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II (Warthog) - History

    The A-10 is also designed for survivability given its role flying low and slow over the battlefield. The A-10 is extremely rugged and able to continue flying even with an engine, a tail fin, or even part of a wing shot off the plane. The A-10 also provides further protection against groundfire by encasing the cockpit and the ammunition drum for the cannon within a titanium "tub."

    Several A-10 aircraft have also been adapted as OA-10 forward air control (FAC) platforms. Typically armed with rocket pods to mark targets and Sidewinder missiles for self-defense, the primary mission of the OA-10 is to locate targets and direct other aircraft in attacking them. The OA-10 is otherwise unchanged from the basic A-10, and both aircraft received few updates after production ceased in the 1980s until about 2005.

    Even early in its career, Air Force planners had questioned the usefulness of the A-10 in combat and doubted its ability to survive against modern air defenses. Plans had called for the A-10 fleet to be gradually retired and replaced by the F-16 during the 1990s. However, the A-10 soon proved its worth during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 when the Warthog was credited with destroying over 1,000 Iraqi tanks, 1,200 artillery pieces, and 2,000 other vehicles. Two A-10 pilots also shot down Iraqi helicopters over Kuwait during the conflict.

    Despite this success, the A-10 and OA-10 fleet was again in jeopardy of being retired during the late 1990s until its subsequent service in Afghanistan and Iraq again gave the attack plane a new lease on life. Many of the surviving aircraft are being upgraded to the A-10C standard under the Precision Engagement program. This upgrade includes updating the software and cockpit displays of older A-10 aircraft so they can carry the latest generation of guided weapons.

    Over 700 examples of the A-10 were originally built for the US Air Force. Many have since been transferred to the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserves or retired from service. Approximately 350 remained in use by 2004. As the A-10 fleet has been reduced, many of the retired planes have been offered for sale to foreign nations.

    Watch the video: RC A-10 Warthog Thunderbolt II 3s EPO Modell, Startgummi, Flight Demonstration HD