U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs assigned to the 25th Fighter Squadron (FS), assigned to the 51st Fighter Wing, Osan Air Base, South Korea, are honing their flight skills while at the Farallon de Medinilla Range (FDM Range), Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands while deployed here, Aug. 10- 21. The 25th FS deployed to Andersen to conduct routine flight training, wingman tactics familiarization and air refueling. The FDM Range is an uninhabited island commonly used for routine flight training.
The 25th FS regularly participates in training events that take place in the Indo-Pacific, such as Cobra Gold and the Rim of the Pacific. Through events like these, the 25th FS is able to strengthen and build relationships with partner nations and improve their capabilities in protecting American interest.
“Having the chance to come to Andersen demonstrates our capability to quickly relocate, establish, and operate our force wherever we may be needed at any time,” said U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Austin Lasch, A-10 pilot. “We will be ready to operate side-by-side with our allies when needed, and our combined training in the Indo-Pacific region will allow us to do so seamlessly.” Lasch explained that their primary mission is to maintain peace and stability across the Indo-Pacific, which requires well-trained Airmen and proven techniques.
“The training we’re getting here is fantastic because it allows the pilots to practice and refine their weapons delivery,” Lasch stated. “We can practice various delivery techniques and see what works best in different situations. Having the FDM range at our disposal has been invaluable.”
The change in pace for the 25th Aircraft Maintenance Unit (AMU) gives a better idea of what their job will look like while deployed.
“We get a really big sense of accomplishment out here, especially when we get to travel,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Isaac Quintana, 25th AMU A-10 crew chief. “It shows us that we get to do real mission work. The workload changes when you are home compared to when you are deployed, and this environment simulates more of a deployed environment while still being labeled as training.”
Quintana said that doing training missions like this puts crew chiefs in positions of safe freedom. Safe freedom meaning that a crew chief can make a call and then find out it wasn’t necessarily the best one to make, but supervisors and superintendents are watching and working alongside crew chiefs to teach and increase overall capabilities in the AMU.
“It’s really about how to be independent on your own jet,” Quintana said. “You get to make calls out here that normally you wouldn’t get to make back at home station. It gives Airmen more leadership opportunities.”
Photo credits: U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael S. Murphy