First A-10Cs at Kandahar

Airmen of the 355th Fighter Wing at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., last month made history by becoming the first unit to deploy a full complement of A-10Cs, the newest version of the venerable A-10 ground-attack aircraft, to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. These airmen are expected to operate out of there until the beginning of next year. Before leaving for the combat theater, members of the wing’s 355th Maintenance Group completed two aircraft projects: a precision engagement software upgrade, known as Suite 5, and adding the Sniper targeting pod to the platform. This deployment represents the fifth time that wing aircraft and personnel have deployed to Afghanistan since Operation Enduring Freedom began in late 2001. The wing is not the first to send A-10Cs to Afghanistan, per se. A-10Cs from the 23rd Wing at Moody AFB, Ga., have operated out of Bagram Airfield, Lt. Chelsey Garrison, a wing spokesman, confirmed to the Daily Report yesterday. In fact, elements of the 23rd Wing’s 74th Fighter Squadron just returned on July 30 from a multi-month deployment to Bagram. A-10Cs of the Maryland Air National Guard’s 175th Wing have also previously operated in the combat theater, in this case from Iraq, Army Lt. Col. Charles Kohler, spokesman for the Maryland National Guard, confirmed yesterday. (Includes Davis-Monthan report by Doug Herndon)