An US A-10 pilot in Afghanistan told us how the Warthog 'scares the enemy into submission'

DVIDSA U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II pilot flies over Afghanistan after completing aerial refuelling operations with a KC-135 Stratotanker on March 12, 2018.
  • A USAF A-10 pilot serving in Afghanistan spoke with Business Insider over the phone about how the Warthog “scares the enemy into submission.”
  • The pilot, who preferred to be called “McGraw,” has completed five tours in Afghanistan and flown about 300 missions in the wartorn country.

I recently had the chance to speak on the phone with a US Air Force A-10 pilot serving in Afghanistan, and he told me about how the Warthog’s “presence alone scares the enemy into submission.”

“Lot of times [when] we’re overhead, they will just put their guns down and go away because they know the A-10 is overhead,” the pilot, who asked to be called “McGraw,” said. “We’ve heard that for years.”

“Do you mean that literally – they will literally throw their guns down?” I clarified.

“I unfortunately can’t see [them throw weapons down],” McGraw said, “but there’s been numerous times over the years when I’ve heard radio calls and phone calls and [been] talking to teams on the ground [and] … they know when the A-10 is overhead.”

“I know over the years we’ve been called ‘the monster’ and other intimidating names,” McGraw said. “When they hear or see A-10s, they know the business end of combat is overhead and [that] maybe it’s time to retreat and withdraw because … they know the punishment that we can deliver is pretty devastating.”

McGraw, who has completed five tours in Afghanistan, said he’s flown about 300 combat missions in the wartorn country, deploying his weapons about 25% of the time.

“I can confidently on every single pass put 30mm exactly on target, exactly where I want it,” he said. “That gun is incredibly accurate, and it obviously delivers fearsome effects and devastating effects … so when I pull that trigger, I know those bullets are going where I want them [to].”

The US sent a squadron of 12 A-10s back to Afghanistan in January, where its quietly ramping up the longest-running war in US history and which the Pentagon says costs about $US45 billion per year.

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