Farewell, Warthog: A-10 Demo Team Announces Its Last Season

After more than four decades of performing around the world, the Air Force A-10C Demonstration Team announced that 2024 will be its final season. The 355th Wing located at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., said the decision was a part of the Air Force’s divestment of the A-10 Thunderbolt II, affectionately known as the “Warthog.”

“This will be the culmination of more than 40 years of demonstrations performed by dozens of pilots and teams at hundreds of air shows across multiple countries,” the wing said in a press release March 20. 

Though not as fast as other Air Force demo teams such as the F-22, F-35, and Air Force Thunderbirds, the A-10 dived low in simulated gun runs and displayed its tight turns and colorful paint schemes at airshows, where narrators extolled the aircraft’s historic role providing close air support to ground troops. 

This is not the first time the A-10 team has shut down. There used to be two demo teams, one on the East Coast and one on the West Coast, before both were deactivated in 2011, according to press materials. The jet flew in heritage flight formations in 2012 and 2017 before reactivating as a single-ship demonstration in 2018.

“It was the best job I had in my Air Force career,” former West Coast demo team pilot retired Lt. Col. Gregg Montijo told Air & Space Forces Magazine. “Learned so much and met some great people.”

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U.S. Air Force Capt. Lindsay “MAD” Johnson, A-10C Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team commander and pilot, flies over Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, March 26, 2023. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alex Stephens)

Montijo is part of a small club: he estimated fewer than 100 people ever had the opportunity to fly in the demo team. But they and other single-ship demo teams made an impact expanding the Air Force’s reach. More than 120 enlisted Airmen, 12 officers, and at least six F-16s are assigned to the Air Force Thunderbirds. By contrast, the A-10 Demo team has just one jet and 10 Airmen, including the pilot.

“I went to smaller air shows that other planes or shows could not support,” Montijo said. “Still have very fond memories of it all.”

Since entering service in the 1970s, the A-10 earned a reputation for busting tanks in Operation Desert Storm, saving friendly troops with precise close air support throughout the Global War on Terror, and bringing pilots home thanks to its rugged construction. 

The Warthog’s days are numbered as the Air Force seeks to retire the fleet by 2029. Davis-Monthan Air Force Base sent the first of its 78 A-10s to the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, also known as The Boneyard, in February. The rest are due to retire over the next three to five years. 

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U.S. Air Force Capt. Lindsay “MAD” Johnson, A-10C Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team commander and pilot, performs pre-flight inspections at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, March 24, 2023. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alex Stephens)

The A-10 Demo Team still has 18 shows scheduled across the country from March 23 to Oct. 5. The current pilot, Maj. Lindsay “Mad” Johnson, took command of the team in 2022 after serving around the world and deploying to Afghanistan.

“While everybody knows us for the gun and its capabilities, the thing that we take most pride in as an A-10 community is protecting the lives of the men and women that are on the ground,” she told Business Insider in 2023.

The complete show schedule can be found here

“We encourage everyone with the opportunity to attend these remaining shows to see the A-10C Demonstration Team in action one final time,” wrote the 355th Wing.