Warthogs visit MacDill

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Sarah Hall-Kirchner
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
MacDill Air Force Base received an short notice visit from 10 fighter jets Oct. 1-11, 2013.

"Up until three weeks ago we had planned to go to another [temporary duty] location," said Capt. James Chevalier, 442nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron officer in-charge of the deployment to MacDill. "I'm proud of our munitions personnel and aircraft maintainers for adapting quickly to change, making this mission a success."

The A-10 Thunderbolts, their pilots, munitions personnel and maintainers are part of the Air Force Reserve command under the 442nd Fighter Wing from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.

The training missions are being run in the afternoons to practice for real-world situations, so the aircraft are inspected in the mornings before they can take off.

Each time a plane comes back from a mission it is given a 100 percent check to make sure it is fully functioning. If an aircraft is found to have a problem, the team immediately figures out how to fix it and begins working on the solution.

Chevalier expressed that he was impressed with the crews, their speed, their accuracy, and especially their team work.

"These folks are following [Air Force Instructions] and rolling with tech data," said Chevalier in regard to the Airmen ensuring the aircraft are ready to fly.

The twin-engine A-10s are the only U.S. Air Force aircraft which are specially designed for close air support of ground forces. Built to attack tanks, armored vehicles and other ground targets, they are tough aircraft with extensive armor, allowing them to keep flying even after sustaining damage.

Senior Airman Misty Howell, 303rd Fighter Squadron A-10 armament specialist, recently moved from another aircraft to the A-10.

"The people I work with have good attitudes and that makes the job easier," Howell said.

Other Airmen had the same positive attitudes toward the Warthog team.

"The camaraderie is definitely a huge factor in what makes this a good job," said Senior Airman Anthony Page, 442nd AMXS A-10 armament specialist.

"I agree," said Senior Airman Yolanda Quintero, 442nd AMXS A-10 armament specialist. "We are a family and we are very close. I enjoy myself."

Page, Quintero, and their team worked on arming a jet with inert devices after the maintenance Airmen checked the aircraft to ensure it was fully functioning.

The Airmen will return to Whiteman after they have finished their mission at MacDill. They will take with them the knowledge and reassurance they are ready to fulfill the mission any time, any place.