MIDDLE RIVER, Md. --
The Maryland Air National Guard demonstrated its operational readiness on Nov. 3, 2021, as it carried out a 16-aircraft mission generation. The exercise took place at Warfield Air National Guard Base in Middle River, Maryland, and involved every A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft assigned to the 104th Fighter Squadron on base showcasing the capability of pilots, airfield operations, and maintainers of the 175th Wing.
“Seeing our entire fleet on the runway, it’s just an awesome display of combat power,” said U.S Air Force Col. Richard D. Hunt, vice commander of the 175th Wing. “Our maintainers are some of the best in the Air Force, and this is concrete proof of our ability to bring the full force of our airpower to bear whenever it is needed.”
The readiness exercise highlighted the agility and rapid mobility of the MDANG's airpower, demonstrating their ability to launch combat-ready A-10s that are deployable for no-notice contingency operations.
“Our ability to generate combat airpower at a moment’s notice helps promote regional stability because we can immediately respond to any threat,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Paul D. Johnson, commander of the 175th Wing. “The 175th Wing is always ready to answer our nation’s call and defend our country from our adversaries. We know they are watching, so it is good for them to know we can bring the fight at any time. I’m proud of our Airmen's ability to generate and employ with the highest level of excellence in a contested environment and with complete [operational security].”
Realistic, relevant exercises like this prepare Airmen for surges in operations when large numbers of aircraft and personnel are mobilized for a mission. During the exercise, maintainers prepared the aircraft and pilots then started the engines of the A-10s and taxied away, forming a line half a mile long before getting into a tight formation on the runway. In the Air Force, the process is known as an “elephant walk,” a term that originated during World War II when hundreds of aircraft would taxi in single-file lines that resembled elephants walking to a waterhole.
“Generating this many A-10s is testament to all the teamwork that it takes to keep us operationally ready,” said U.S. Air Force Col. David Wright, commander of the 175th Maintenance Group. “As proud as I am of the job our Airmen did, I can’t say I’m surprised by it. Combat readiness is what we do, and our people always rise to the occasion.”