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Hog good effect!

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Rito Smith
  • 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

The A-10 Thunderbolt II, nicknamed the “warthog” and known for its ability to provide timely and accurate close air support to ground troops, has proven vital for U.S. and Coalition forces in Afghanistan.  

“The biggest win is getting a call that a ground controller is taking significant fire, and they don’t have the mobility to maneuver around that,” said the director of operations for the 75th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron at Kandahar Airfield. “They tell you where the fire is coming from, and within seconds you are in there with your weapons systems.”

“The next call you receive there is silence in the background, and all you hear is ‘hog good effect.’ And you can hear the instant relief in their voice,” he continued. “Being able to help with troops in contact and then hearing that quiet is something special.”

The 75th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron provides close air support and personnel recovery for U.S. and partner forces on throughout Afghanistan. In order to do this effectively, maintainers and pilots work hand in hand to ensure they are prepared for whatever mission set is in front of them.

“Everyone has a shared piece in this fight,” said the director of operations. “We need to have a good relationship with the maintainers so we can have a better understanding of what they do and how that helps us to accomplish our part in the mission.”

The squadron implemented job shadow opportunities that allow pilots to spend a day with maintainers to learn what they do and the challenges they face on a daily basis. This allows them to better understand the time constraints required when they ask for weapons customization for a specific mission set.

The maintainers from the 451st Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron are responsible for maintaining all 75th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron A-10s, as well as the KC-135 Stratotankers and MQ-9 Reapers that fall under the 451st Air Expeditionary Group at Kandahar.

As a weapons load crew member, Airman 1st Class Brenna Velasco is responsible for doing end of fire inspections on A-10s after a mission, as well as preparing racks for loading munitions.

“We had an aircraft come down that had fired a rocket, dropped a bomb, and fired the gun,” she said. “I got to help prepare the munitions to be reloaded on the aircraft so it could go back up and continue the mission”

Velasco said she gets great job satisfaction and understands the importance of her role as part of a bigger picture.

“What I do is amazing because I know that the munitions I put on that jet are going out to accomplish a mission,” Velasco said. “A lot of people don’t see what gets done over here, but I get to see it every day.”

The 75th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron and 451st Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron work together closely to ensure the A-10s are continually ready to bring “hog good effect” to Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines conducting kinetic operations in Afghanistan.

“I am proud of the mission we do every day,” said the director of operations. “Everyone in our team is passionate about their job, and they are able to take a little bit of guidance and run with it to accomplish the mission with great effects.”

The 75th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron and 451st Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron are part of the 451st Air Expeditionary Group, a geographically separated unit of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing headquartered at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. The wing supports Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and NATO’s Resolute Support mission.