A-10s Complete Snowbird Mission

  • Published
  • By TSgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
Pilots from the 107th Fighter Squadron recorded more than 400 hours of total flight time and deployed more than a dozen different types of munitions during a recent two week training exercise at an Air Force base in Arizona.

Taking advantage of ideal weather conditions during Snowbird 13, nearly 180 Airmen from the 107th Fighter Squadron and the 127th Aircraft Maintenance Unit deployed for two weeks to Davis-Monthan AFB near Tucson, Ariz.  The A-10 Thunderbolt II pilots from Selfridge Air National Guard Base performed a number of upgrade sorties and utilized five different tactical weapons ranges to hone their combat skills, while maintenance, ammunition and weapons ground crews successfully prepared and loaded the aircraft at rates and quantities normally seen in combat conditions.

"This level of combat-like activity requires our Airmen to perform at the top of their game," said Lt. Col. Mike Saridakis, commander of the 107th Fighter Squadron and an A-10 pilot. "It simulates war-time sortie generation rates , keeping us sharp for the next time the commander in chief calls on Michigan to provide A-10s to the fight."

The 107th typically deploys for two weeks in the winter to Davis-Monthan for the high volume skills training, but did not participate in a Snowbird in 2012, as the unit was just returning from a deployment to Afghanistan.

Following the recent ribbon cutting ceremony of the 127th Operations Group's new $6.6 million facility, the A-10 squadron and maintenance group Airmen will turn their attention to a major exercise planned in April, also at Davis-Monthan. Angel Thunder is the nation's largest interagency exercise for personnel rescue and recovery, featuring participation from across many units of local, state and federal government, as well as international participation. The exercise is organized by the Air Force's Air Combat Command.

For the 2013 exercise, the 107th will provide the lead A-10 squadron. The A-10, with its ability to loiter for long periods of time in the area of a specified target and its high degree of survivability, is an excellent platform to serve in the "Sandy" mission, providing combat support during search and rescue operations. "Sandy" qualified A-10 pilots will lead large-force assault packages consisting of dozens of airborne assets and over 100 aircrew for the sole purpose of safely extracting downed airmen in a high-threat environment.

Comprised of approximately 1,600 personnel and flying both the A-10 Thunderbolt II and the KC-135 Stratotanker, the 127th Wing supports Air Mobility Command, Air Combat Command and Air Force Special Operations Command by providing highly-skilled Airmen to missions domestically and overseas. The 127th Wing is the host unit at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, which is also home to units of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection.