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Warthogs Take Over Hawaiian Skies

Warthogs Take Over Hawaiian Skies

U.S. Airmen with the 442nd Fighter Wing descended on Marine Corps Base Hawaii in February to conduct various training exercises across the Hawaiian Islands.

The fighter wing, stationed out of Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, worked alongside III Marine Expeditionary Forces to improve combat strength and joint service effectiveness between the two branches.

“Our objective here focused on packing up and deploying to Pacific region environment,” said Chief Master Sgt. Aaron McRoberts, the deployment superintendent with the 442nd Fighter Wing. “Working alongside the Marine aircraft was a unique experience and any issue we had, they were more than happy to help.”

The fighter wing conducted various training exercises such as escorting MV-22B Osprey aircraft with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 268 and a forward arming and refueling point exercise where fuel was shared to an A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft increasing flight times.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Todd Riddle, the commander of the 303rd Fighter squad, 442nd Fighter Wing, said the unit has deployed multiple times to the Middle East, but the U.S. Air Force is pushing towards more training in the Pacific.

“The U.S. Air Force wants to see more Agile Combat Employment and this is the first time we were able to employ ourselves here,” he said. “Starting from nothing, we were able to work our way up to improving our joint service effectiveness with the Marines. They were able to setup various live fire exercises for us, while we provided combat search and rescues and escorts.”

Agile Combat Employment, or ACE, is the U.S. Air Force’s approach to ensure forward deployed forces are ready for a potential contingency with little notice.

One of the training events took place at the Pohakuloa Training Area, combining close air support from A-10 Thunderbolt II Warthog fighter aircraft with UH-1Y Venom and AH-1Z Viper helicopters assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367.

Riddle said the training provided a better understanding of how U.S. Marine Corps aircraft operations are conducted and how his squadron can be implemented into the Marine Air Ground Task Force.

Nearing the end of the month, U.S. Marines with 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, and VMM-268 coordinated with the 442nd Fighter Wing to simulate a downed pilot rescue on MCBH. Warthog fighter aircraft provided aerial security while Ospreys extracted the pilot.

“Being able to work with Ospreys was a unique experience and working with U.S. Marines in general only makes us more of a lethal force in readiness. We collectively figured out a game plan to combine our assets and skills, and at the very end of the training shows how much we grew together.”

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T.S. Eschholz, Jr., C.C.S. - April 20, 2020

In the history of 44-54 years ago, A1-H SkyRaiders/SPADs filled this roll particularly with units of MACV-SOG & pilot rescue. You didn’t want to piss off a SPAD and even less a WARTHOG. Cool pic.
T.S. ESchholz, Jr., C.C.S.
President, Fitness Crafters
Rockville, MD
0802 79-85

A.H. Gardner 69-71 1371 - April 20, 2020

I agree with Gunny on the F4’s being loud. We were at KBay Jan 70 to Jan 71 when VMFA 211 and 235 were there. Our Eng Plt was in the process of building a SATS strip next to the main runway as 2 planes at a time took off about a hundred feet from us every couple of hours. Yeah they were loud.

Donald Key/ Lcpl 68-72 - April 20, 2020

As I always said just turn them over to the Marines we would love to have them.

Paul Maronna - April 20, 2020

Remember o bummer wanted to abolish these wonderful Birds. IDIOT . A 10’s are great platforms !!!!!!!!!!! I flew with HMM 161 69-70 . I wish we had A10’s Back Then . We had great support for the time but IMHO the Wart Hog is all that and then sum.

Art - April 20, 2020

I was in the Corps and the A-10’s served us well. They are designed to survive a lot of incoming rounds and they are devastating to enemy ground troops and equipment. When I got out I was able to see them up close while conducting engine testing on the TF-34 engines at Barksdale Air Force Base. What a great piece of machinery.

3/3 Dan - April 20, 2020

My son is currently in K-Bay and serving Crash Fire Rescue. He told me about the A-10s being on deck when this exercise happened. Cool planes. Nothing like seeing Marine Corps Aircraft over the bay. I was with 3/3 and we spent a lot of flight time all over those islands. Great to see combined arms working together. Semper Fi

Gunny Fritz King - April 20, 2020

When I was at K-Bay, we had the last active F-4 squadrons in the Corps. They were big, loud, nasty birds, but I loved them. Many nights I walked the flight line guarding 46’s, 53’s, F-4’s and a few A-4’s. I miss those days…

Tyler - April 20, 2020

I have long held that the Marine corps should adopt the A-10 (modified for carrier landing) it is a great ground attack platform. and unlike the AF we don’t care if it isn’t “sexy”

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