A dozen A-10s from Air Force Reserve Command’s 442nd Fighter Wing departed Whiteman AFB, Mo., en route to two weeks of live weapons training at Eielson AFB, Alaska. “The wide open spaces of Alaska will allow us to employ munitions we couldn’t usually utilize” ahead of the unit’s upcoming overseas deployment, said wing Vice Commander Col. Gregory Eckfeld in a July 13 Whiteman release. The aircraft left Whiteman that same day to participate in Eielson’s Distant Thunder exercise over the nearby Joint Pacific Alaskan Range Complex. It will “be great training for everybody, especially our munitions folks,” said Eckfeld. “The biggest deal for maintainers [is] the live loads, which will provide extremely valued training with hints of danger,” noted Col. Michael Wood, 442nd Aircraft Maintenance Group commander. Roughly 200 pilots and support personnel from the wing are participating. (Whiteman report by TSgt. Kent Kagarise)
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.