The Warthog distinguished itself by taking out hundreds of tanks during the invasion of Iraq and later was used to support low-level ground combat in Afghanistan and most recently, Syria.
With an authorized squadron size of 18 aircraft — cut from 24 several years ago — D-M under the Air Force plan stands to lose two of its three A-10 squadrons this year, representing a loss of hundreds of pilots and maintainers.
D-M is host to more than 10,000 airmen and civilian employees and contributes nearly $1 billion to the Tucson-area economy annually.
In a joint statement on Friday, six Arizona Democrats — Sens. Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema, and Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick, Ruben Gallego, Tom O’Halleran and Greg Stanton — and Republican Rep. Debbie Lesko vowed to oppose the A-10 retirement plans, citing its unique role in close air support of ground troops and lack of any near-term replacement for that mission.
“Removing A-10s from the fleet when there is not another aircraft capable of performing this mission takes a vital tool away from our military and is the wrong step for our national security,” said Kelly, a decorated former Navy combat pilot who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“The A-10 is a crucial asset to the close air support mission and is an iconic symbol of the Arizona defense community,” Kirkpatrick said, vowing to fight to keep the A-10.