Grand Strand Chapter of the
Military Officers Association of America
Dinner Meeting, February 13, 2024
The Air Force to the rescue! Early on the date of our dinner, Vice President Brown was informed by the scheduled speaker that he had evaluated positive for Covid. Calls were made and one of our chapter members, retired Colonel Denny Yount volunteered to fill in for the event. Reading today’s newspapers, there is much written on the F-35, F-16, and F-22, but one of our most successful battle- tested planes, the A-10 Warthog is invisible. Denny served on this plane for 18 years and related his firsthand experiences through assignments during Desert Storm, Bosnia, and the Middle East.
The A-10 was designed specifically for close air support of ground forces. The A-10 is very maneuverable at low speeds and low altitudes to ensure accurate weapon delivery, and it carries the systems and armor needed to survive in this environment. It is intended for use against all ground targets but is particularly effective against tanks and other armored vehicles. The Thunderbolt II's great endurance gives it a large combat radius and long loiter time in a battle area. Its short takeoff and landing capability permits operation from airstrips close to the front lines.
Developed during the Cold War to tear through Soviet tanks trying to make their way through the Fulda Gap between East and West Germany, the A-10 was a vital component of the AirLand Battle doctrine. The idea was to maintain the balance of forces, use technology to overcome the Warsaw Pact's numerical superiority and be an effective deterrent to aggression.
Even before the plane's design really began, planners built the A-10 Thunderbolt II around its main armament, the GAU-8 Avenger. The Avenger is a powerful seven-barrel, hydraulic-driven gatling gun that fires PGU-14/B Incendiary rounds with a depleted uranium armor piercing core or PGU-13/B High Explosive Incendiary rounds, each longer than 11 inches. It fires the projectiles at a rate of 2,100 to 4,200 rounds per minute. The Air Force argues that such a slow-moving and single-role aircraft is not necessary for today's battlefields. The A-10 wasn't built to fly against today's air superiority fighters like China's J-20. The Air Force would much prefer to free up the funds used to maintain 45-year-old fighters like the A-10 to use on its newer aircraft, airframes it believes have a much bigger role in the long run.
It remains in service today because of its popularity with our Marines and Army Infantry. With its unique cannon, the A-10 is a lethal partner that is unmatched in our current military arsenal.
Dinner Meeting, January 16, 2024