The newly operational A-10Cs of the Maryland Air National Guard’s 104th Fighter Squadron are now in Iraq flying combat missions, according to Lt. Col. Kevin Campbell. They dropped ordnance for the first time just last week, he told reporters at AFA’s Air & Space Conference Tuesday. Campbell said the A-10C “precision engagement” Warthogs performed an air strike in an area not far from Balad AB, Iraq on a known insurgent target Sept. 19. The A-10 pilots dropped two GBU-38 JDAMS on the target, destroying the building with no damage to nearby structures. Campbell, who led the ANG’s testing efforts for the A-10C and is a pilot with the 175th Fighter Wing, said that members of the Michigan ANG are also deployed in the same rotation with the 104th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron. The 104th FS and the Battle Creek, Mich.-based 172nd FS are the first units to be fully equipped with the modernized warthogs.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.