One of the Most Beloved Warplanes in U.S. Military History

One of the Most Beloved Warplanes in U.S. Military History

This video gives a great amount of detail behind the history of the design and making of the plane that would become a powerful icon of protection and power to the grunts on the ground in Desert Storm and the post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in the Balkans.

The original design that would become affectionately known as the "Warthog" for its attitude and ugly duckling profile was in competition with another model to become a low-altitude air support platform in support of ground forces. It was then called the YA 10A. To make a long story short, it won the competition to be built in 1973. Originally, ten units were ordered to be built at a cost of $159 million dollars.

Since its inception, some 715 of the planes have been built, 283 of which are the C-modified units that cost around $18-$19 million dollars to create.

The plane has been modified and modernized several times during its lifetime. It has served with great distinction over battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in the Balkans. It is beloved by the troops on the ground for its distinctive sound, its ability to come in low and fast and to stick around to provide the necessary air support for troops in tight or overwhelming situations. But it is that particular growl of its 30mm gun, that distinctive "brrrrrt" that fires up to 1,350 rounds of close-in fire support. The presence of a Thunderbolt II, or "Warthog," in the sky overhead has always brought a sense of confidence. Their support, more often than not, made the difference between a good day and a bad one.

These A-10s earned a great reputation in the first Gulf War, Operation Desert Storm, going after Sadaam Hussein's vaunted tank battalions. They were credited with destroying over 1,000 tanks and hundreds of other targets, like artillery and scud rocket launchers.

To this generation of warfighters, the A-10 is as beloved as the P-51 Mustang was in WWII. Veterans of Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom will remember the sound of the A-10 Warhog overhead, providing support, like Vietnam veterans remember the sound of helicopter blades. The stories about the Warthog will last long after that incredible platform ceases to operate.

Dan Doyle

Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.

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