War on Terrorism

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Newly deployed A-10 unit provides close air support

by Tech. Sgt. Renni Thornton
451st Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

5/19/2010 - KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (AFNS) -- More than 200 pilots, maintainers and crew chiefs of the 81st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron and the 81st Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron arrived May 11 here to provide close air support throughout Afghanistan.

They are taking over from the Airmen of the 184th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron.

"The mission of the unit is to provide close air support for coalition forces," said Lt. Col. Ronald Stuewe, the commander of the 81st EFS.

"That is the bread and butter of (the A-10 Thunderbolt II) and the bread and butter of the mission here," he said. "That's what we train to do and that is what we are here to execute."

The two units are scheduled to be deployed here for four months, said Capt. Kathleen Fitzpatrick, the commander of the 81st EAMXS.

They are assigned to the 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.

The units brought with them most of the maintainers, aircrew flight equipment, intelligence, medical and support members assigned to their home station, Captain Fitzpatrick said.

Although this is the unit's first time here, the A-10 unit has deployed to other locations in the area of responsibility.

"We are glad to be here and ready to go. We've hit the ground running. We've had a great start to what seems like a fantastic deployment," Colonel Stuewe said.

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