124th Fighter Wing A-10Cs deploy to Southwest Asia

Fairchild Republic A-10C Thunderbolt II close air support (CAS)/ground-attack aircraft – belonging to the Idaho Air National Guard’s (ANG’s) 124th Fighter Wing (FW) – have deployed to Southwest Asia to support combat operations.

This deployment – which is the 124th FW’s second largest – comprises nearly a dozen aircraft from the wing’s 190th Fighter Squadron ‘Skull Bangers’ and more than 400 troops. The A-10Cs and associated personnel deployed from Gowen Field, Boise, to various locations in the Southwest Asia region on May 11 and will return to the continental US later this summer. During the tour, they will support Operations Freedom Sentinel, Inherent Resolve and New Normal.

A-10C (124th FW) (US Army National Guard/Sgt Mason Cutrer] #1
A 190th FS A-10C Thunderbolt II - serial 78-0703 (c/n A10-0323) - practices austere take-offs and landings at the Freedom Landing Strip, Fort Irwin, California, in June 2019. US Army National Guard/Sgt Mason Cutrer

Idaho Governor Brad Little discussed the deployment and its timing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He said: “We [recognise] the impact this mission will have on our community and we deeply appreciate the sacrifice of Idaho’s service members… This deployment once again displays the commitment of the 124th [FW] and its members, as well as the dedication demonstrated by the community of families, state and local leaders, [neighbours] and employers who provide unwavering support to our service members.”

The ‘Skull Bangers’ have operated the venerable ‘Warthog’ since 1996, when they replaced the unit’s McDonnell Douglas F-4G Wild Weasel V aircraft, which were employed in a dedicated suppression/destruction of enemy air defences (SEAD/DEAD) role. Since 1996, 190th FS A-10Cs have been deployed to support Operations Allied Force, Iraqi Freedom and Southern Watch.