Thank God, literally, for A-10 legend Tom Norris (Lt. Col., Ret.) and CD2 candidate Chuck Wooten (Command Chief Master Sgt., Ret.). At the Town Hall meeting at the Wilmot Branch Library in Tucson on May 15, they let us know why and how the Air Force has been lying to America during its (the Air Force’s) push to scrap the A-10 Warthog, the finest close air support aircraft ever produced.
Oh, I had to paraphrase a bit. Colonel Norris didn’t use the precise word. What he did say was that the pinned down infantryman’s best friend has never been liked by the Air Force. After Vietnam, a true fiasco when it came to close air support, it was Congress who declared “enough is enough” and mandated the development and production of the A-10. He went on to let us know a few other things, too.
“The Air Force loves to do things the other branches can’t do. Air drops. Deep strikes.”
“Certain Air Force personalities who did not like the close air support mission….were able to push through the doctrine that close air support is currently the only Air Force mission that is not allowed to have a dedicated aircraft to support it. That’s right. There is no dedicated airplane to protect our sons and daughters.”
“Since Desert Storm, the A-10 has received many upgrades. At this time, it’s the platform with the most advanced technology in the entire Air Force inventory. It’s the only plane equipped with radios that can interrogate handheld radios on the ground without human intervention. It has a clear monocle that goes over the pilot’s right eye and provides real time information about conditions on the ground. Even the F-22, the most advanced plane flying today, is only just now starting testing to install the helmet system the A-10 has had for more than a year. The Air Force claim that the A-10 is using outdated technology is simply factually not true.”
Think about that. Factually not true. Well, folks, I’m just one civilian out there, but I call that lying. And pardon my French, but that really pisses me off. You can bet the Army generals responsible for the lives of troops on the ground do appreciate the A-10 and want to keep it flying, but the Air Force brass doesn’t give a damn about, for example, my career Army nephew and his peers who’ve chosen to serve this nation in war so others don’t have to do so.
Now, maybe because I’m so intense on this issue, I mucked up a whole bunch of my video uploads to YouTube–they’re okay, but I had to scratch and start over after wasting nearly 24 hours trying to get the batch of nine different video clips processed. That’s frustrating because We the People don’t have a lot of time to get with it, to make calls to Senator John McCain’s office in Washington before the Senate votes on the A-10 issue. The vote is scheduled for either May 21 or May 22, according to Chuck Wooten.
So we’ll have to make do with photos, adding the video clips as they become available.
Here we go.
Aha! One video clip is now available to embed. This was fairly late in the Town Hall program, the 11th of 14 clips, nine of which are worth publishing. In this segment, on May 15, 2014, Congressional candidate Wooten & former A-10 pilot Norris field Town Hall questions on the Warthog’s capabilities, why it needs to be saved, and Chuck Wooten’s response to an audience member’s hope for the candidate once he “gets in office”.
Regarding the status of the A-10 as it exists today, Wooten used the following slide to explain what’s happening now in Washington.
One key point stressed by Chuck Wooten repeatedly was the need for members of the Tucson community to act now. “If we sit on our hands,” he explained, the SASC (Senate Armed Services Committee) may fail to act favorably on the A-10’s behalf simply because no one in D.C. knew we cared enough to make noise.
It’s not “just” the A-10 that is at risk. We may be facing a new round of base closures, starting in 2017. Not a good plan, as anyone with a brain could see, but we’re not talking about I.Q. in this case; it’s all about politics…and about our local southern Arizona economy, since without the Warthoog mission as part of its overall presence, DM (Davis Monthan) could be one of the bases at risk of closure.
What can we do about all this? Chuck Wooten had the answers for that, too.
As a Congressional candidate, Chuck Wooten did make a pitch for Town Hall attendees to consider him when it comes time to vote–but he made it quick, just one slide, and he didn’t linger over that point. As always, his professionalism was right on target.
From that point forward in the meeting–and it didn’t take him long to get to that point–Chuck Wooten threw the Town Hall meeting open to questions and comments from the audience…of which there were plenty. Chief Wooten and Colonel Norris answered each question according to his relative expertise. As mentioned, at least one attendee was alive due to direct intervention by A-10 Warthogs during his time in combat. Another man had worked in aircraft maintenance and blessed the plane’s “easy to maintain” nature.
“It’s really easy to maintain. We’d see a plane come in with half the cowl shot off. We’d be able to replace that and have it back up flying. And the radios were some of the best anywhere.”
That’s it for now. If and/or when I manage to straighten out YouTube regarding any of the remaining video clips, I’ll add them–but in the meantime, let’s make some noise, see about ginning up as much support for the A-10 as we can. Our sons and daughters in combat deserve no less.
Ah! Here’s one, the introduction that provides background on both Command Chief Master Sgt. Chuck Wooten and A-10 legend Lt. Colonel Tom Norris, making it clear why both of them are extremely qualified to discuss the A-10 warplane.
Getting the hang of it now. Had to rename the videos to make YouTube happy with them. In this next clip, CD2 candidate Chuck Wooten provides background on the A-10 Warthog and explains why its survival in the Air Force fleet is crucial to the survival of our sons and daughters.
Next up: Congressional candidate Chuck Wooten explains the short timeline for saving the A-10, BRAC, what must be done, and issues a call to action.
Following a quick Chuck Wooten pitch for his CD2 Congressional candidacy, Tom Norris responds to an audience comment about the Apache helicopter and the A-10 Warthog being directly complementary. The Colonel points out that the A-10 is PAID FOR, full of hi tech upgrades, and has a useful life expectancy reaching to 2035.
Note to our readers: At one point, I had three more video clips from the A-10 Town Hall embedded here…but found the page had “reached its limit” and was taking forever to load, sometimes hanging up completely. So those clips were deleted–but can easily be found by searching YouTube for “Chuck Wooten A-10”. Colonel Norris explains the Air Force’s “factually not true” statements about A-10 technology in the clip with the title, “Great Radios in A-10….”.