by Staff Sgt. David Dobrydney
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
4/8/2013 - BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- The first A-10 Thunderbolt II from Moody Air Force Base, Ga., arrived here March 31 amid cheers from maintenance personnel.
The A-10s are from the 23d Fighter Wing "Flying Tigers" based out of Moody Air Force Base, Ga.
"After nearly 7,400 miles, the squadron is so excited to be back at
Bagram," said Lt. Col. David Haworth, 74th Expeditionary Fighter
Squadron commander."It's a great feeling being a part of a wing so
focused on delivering combat power. The 74th Fighter Squadron was born
in combat and all the flyers, maintainers and support folks here from
Moody are ready to write the next great chapter in Flying Tiger
The first aircraft to land was 'caught' by a crew of maintainers led by
Staff Sgts. Rebecca Gaddy and Andres Araugo, 455th Expeditionary
Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chiefs.
Araujo said to be on the crew chosen to receive the aircraft piloted by the squadron commander is a privilege.
"It's a sense of pride, honestly, to be able to know that we can be here ready, standing by, receiving our jets," he said.
"It's the world famous 'Flying Tigers,'" Gaddy added. "They pick a good set of people who are quick on the draw."
Gaddy, Araujo and their fellow maintainers arrived a week prior to the aircraft in order to ensure a smooth transition.
"We did a lot of pre-staging for the aircraft... getting tools accounted
for, [finding] places to put our fuel tanks, and of course establishing
the turnover with our predecessors," Gaddy said.
Araujo said he's looking forward to carrying on the work done by their
forebears, the "Bulldogs" of the 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron,
now heading home to Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.
"We'd like to carry that forward and not only continue to do what
they've been doing, but excel and continue to raise the standards," he
While this is Gaddy's first deployment here, it is Araujo's second. He
said that many of the other maintainers are also new to Bagram.
"We've got a lot of new guys coming in. I've been in that position
before and am able now to play the other role and guide them and make
sure they set their first impression the right way," he said.
"It's going to be some good, tough work, but this is our job."