Saturday, March 6, 2010

A-10 Units of Operation Iraqi Freedom - Part I

General A-10 deployment overview and A-10 deployments to the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing


By Joachim Jacob (all author rights reserved)

Please note: Because I'm still in the process to offer related manuscripts to potential publishers, please understand that I will only post some basic deployment info (and not my full knowledge). On the other hand, I would be very grateful for any additional info or corrections from A-10 professionals and also from A-10 enthusiasts.

On March 19, 2003, Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) began with a so-called "Shock and Awe" campaign. Involved A-10 units operated out of Ahmed Al Jaber AB, Kuwait (332nd Air Expeditionary Wing), and Prince Hassan AB (H5), Jordan (387th Air Expeditionary Group as a subordinate of the 410th Air Expeditionary Wing at Muwaffaq Salti Air Base – Azraq, also known as Shahid Muafaq Al-Salti Air Base, and dubbed Azraq Air Base by the U.S. military).

Deployed A-10 Units


On April 30, 2003, U.S. Central Command's Assessment and Analysis Division released an unclassified 16-page report "Operation IRAQI FREEDOM – By The Numbers", signed by Lt. Gen. T. Michael "Buzz" Moseley, at that time (November 2001 - August 2003) Commander, 9th Air Force and U.S. Central Command Air Forces (U.S. CENTAF), Shaw AFB, South Carolina, and Combined Forces Air Component Commander (CFACC) for both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

T. Michael Moseley as a general (retired August 1, 2008) Hi-res

This report was produced at CENTAF-PSAB, KSA (Prince Sultan AB, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) for the Commander, Central Air Forces (CENTAF).

The purpose of this report was: "To establish a single source of aggregated facts about Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) from the Combined Forces Air Component Commander's (CFACC) perspective. This report is based on information collected during operations at the Combined Air Operations Center, Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Additional reach-back support elements contributed to refinement of the data and tracking. We have consolidated numerous sources of information, cross-referencing each to select a single set of usable numbers. While our goal was to select the actual number wherever possible, in some cases the 'best' number available from the most credible source was selected."

The scope of this report is 0300Z 19 March 2003 (ATO M/D-Day) until 0259Z 18 April 2003 (ATO P1/D+29), a total of 720 hours inclusive.

Source

According to this official report, 60 A/OA-10s were "deployed for OIF": 47 A-10s from the Air National Guard, and 12 A-10s from the Air Force Reserve. But at first: 47 + 12 = 59 (and not 60!). Secondly, this source "ignored" an undisclosed number of A-10s from the active 23rd Fighter Group, 23rd Fighter Wing, Pope AFB, South Carolina, also deployed for OIF.

BTW: This report also includes the following background info:
- 4 Apr 03 First basing of coalition fixed wing aircraft in Iraq, A-10s at Tallil Airfield.
- Psychological Operations (PSYOP): 32 A-10 Leaflet Missions
- A-10 Mission Capable rates: 85.0
- Manned Coalition aircraft losses: 1 A-10

Deployed A-10s


A very large but still undisclosed number of A-10s were deployed to the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing at Ahmed Al Jaber AB, Kuwait - main operating base for A-10s during OIF:

An undisclosed number of A-10s of an Air National Guard A-10 "Rainbow Team" (originally deployed for Operation Southern Watch):

190th Fighter Squadron, 124th Wing (Idaho ANG), Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho (tailcode ID)
172nd Fighter Squadron, 110th Fighter Wing (Michigan ANG), Battle Creek (tailcode BC)
103rd Fighter Squadron, 111th Fighter Wing (Pennsylvania ANG), Willow Grove ARS (tailcode PA)

Later joined by an undisclosed number of A-10s from the 23rd Fighter Group, 23rd Wing (ACC), Pope AFB, North Carolina (tailcode FT).

Later also joined by twelve A-10s from the 303rd Fighter Squadron, 442nd Fighter Wing (AFRC), Whiteman AFB, Missouri (tailcode KC).

Additionally, eighteen A-10s (eleven from the 131st Fighter Squadron, 104th Fighter Wing (Massachusetts ANG), Barnes MAP (tailcode MA), and seven from the 118th Fighter Squadron, 103rd Fighter Wing (Connecticut ANG), Bradley ANGB (tailcode CT) were deployed to the 187th Air Expeditionary Group at Prince Hassan AB (H5), Jordan, as part of the 410th Air Expeditionary Wing. For details please check: A-10 Units of Operation Iraqi Freedom - Part II

The 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing


In November 1998, the 332nd Air Expeditionary Group (332nd AEG) was activated at Ahmed Al Jaber AB, Kuwait, to replace the 4406th Operations Group (Provisional). The 332nd AEG played a key role during Operation Southern Watch (after Operation Desert Storm), and later also during Operation Enduring Freedom. Just before OIF, the 332nd AEG growed up to the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing. During OIF's main combat phase (which officially ended May 1, 2003), the 332nd AEW was commanded by Col. Tom Jones.



Ahmed Al Jaber AB, Kuwait (Satellite photo by Google Earth)



This picture is only one of 13 known official USAF shots of a fly-by of A-10s over Ahmed Al Jaber AB just after OIF's main combat phase. From front to back: A-10 0282 from the 75th Fighter Squadron, 23rd Fighter Group, 23rd Wing (ACC), Pope AFB (tailcode FT); A-10 276 from the 190th Fighter Squadron, 124th Wing (Idaho ANG), Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho (tailcode ID); A-10 222 from the 172nd Fighter Squadron, 110th Fighter Wing (Michigan ANG), Battle Creek (tailcode BC); A-10 ... from the 103rd Fighter Squadron, 111th Fighter Wing (Pennsylvania ANG), Willow Grove ARS (tailcode PA); A-10 ... from the 303rd Fighter Squadron, 442nd Fighter Wing (AFRC), Whiteman AFB, Missouri (tailcode KC). (U.S. Air Force photo) Full size

Later during OIF, A-10s from Ahmed Al Jaber AB were forward-deployed at first to Tallil AB, Iraq (392nd Air Expeditionary Group, then 407th Air Expeditionary Group), and some time later also to Kirkuk Regional Air Base (KRAB), Iraq (506th Air Expeditionary Group).

Note: During the last couple of years, I archived a huge lot of related info, including public USAF photos and also shots from private contacts. This post will be further updated, at least a little bit.

37 comments:

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