Warthogs Rock the Boat

Four A-10s deployed from Barksdale AFB, La., bombed, strafed, and sank the USNS Niagara Falls, a decommissioned naval supply ship, during the massive ongoing Rim of the Pacific exercise off the coast of Hawaii. “I think they underestimated the ability of the A-10,” said Maj. Grant McCall, a pilot with Air Force Reserve Command’s 47th Fighter Squadron, in a July 20 Barksdale release. He added, “Other groups were supposed to shoot at the target . . . but never got the chance because we sank it” during the July 14 mission. The A-10s hit the ship with four inert 2,000-pound laser-guided bombs, one of which penetrated the hull, before pummeling the ship with cannon. “The 30 millimeters were pounding the ship and sending monster geysers of water up in the air. It was a spectacular sight, like something out of old World War II footage,” added Lt. Col. Jim Travis, 47th FS commander. Last year, A-10s struck maritime targets in combat off Libya. (Barksdale report by SSgt. Ted Daigle) (See also Navy release.)