Air Force A-10s have dropped some 500 bombs and air-to-ground missiles and fired 50,000 rounds in support of Operation Inherent Resolve since deploying to the Persian Gulf region in November 2014, according to a 386th Air Expeditionary Wing release. The 163rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron began its deployment at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, before transitioning to the 332nd Air Expeditionary Group, under the 386th AEW, late last year, said Lt. Col. Bill Leahy, the 163rd EFS commander. Although A-10 maintainers and aircrews only had half a dozen tents and no power or communications when they first transitioned from Bagram to the freshly activated AEG, Leahy said they were flying combat operations over Iraq and Syria within a week. Squadron officials said the A-10s have flown close air support, interdiction, and combat search and rescue missions since their arrival. Airmen also are working closely with coalition partners operating from the same location, he added. CMSgt. Larry Chandler, the 332nd Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron day shift chief, said he shares “facilities, parts, and knowledge” with coalition partners supporting air taskings.
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.