So our government has decided to reduce the deficit by deep cuts in the military. That includes eliminating several weapons systems. Among those proposed to be cut are the ugliest airplanes in our arsenal: the A-10 Warthog. These weird looking attack jets are specifically designed to kill tanks and they do it especially well.
The aircraft has long bulky wings, a pregnant shark looking body and two huge engine pods stuck on either side of the tail rudders. Its front landing gear is stuck on the side of the nose because the nose contains a massive five barrel, revolving 70mm gun. It fires so fast that it will empty the ammo bin with a 10-second blast. But it only takes one second for it to kill a tank!
This is the second time they have attempted to kill this program. The first time was just before the First Gulf War. But sense Saddam Hussein’s army consisted of vast numbers of soviet era tanks they shipped them to the middle east to help chase him out of Kuwait.
Do you remember seeing the video of the road to Baghdad littered with mile after mile of destroyed tanks, trucks and artillery? Most of that destruction was created by Warthogs.
I served several years in the Georgia National Guard artillery unit. We did our training at Ft. Stuart near Savannah. The Army had placed a number of old garbage trucks on a ridge for us to use as targets. We were given the M1 Paladin as our primary weapon. It was a self-propelled 155mm howitzer that could fire a 95-pound round up to 10-and-a-half miles. Just as an example, if I had one in my back yard in Dogsboro, I could lob shells into the old courthouse in Danielsville. We were on a three-day exercise when the fort commander commended the east half of the target area for the weekend use of Warthogs, so we had a chance to see them in action.
Once we scored a direct hit on a dumpster and it jumped up into the air and fell back. When the Warthog fired on the same dumpster, it disintegrated! Anyway, we were on the west side of the artillery range firing on the west half of the impact area. Someone did their math wrong and fired a long round. It hit the ground right under a Warthog. The pilot was not happy.
The commanders ordered a cease fire and sent us to our bivouac area. The next morning, just as the bugle was sounding revile, a Warthog quietly drifted over our camp site and suddenly cut on his afterburners! The officers had no problem getting people out of their cots!
It may be that we have newer equipment that can do the same job as the A-10. All I know is that I do not want the pilot of one of those little monsters to be mad at me!
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. His website can be accessed at http://www.frankgillispie.com/gillispieonline.