Tag Archives: 127th Wing

Warthogs Along State Highway 32

Four A-10s, pulled from the Arizona-based 15th Air Force’s 354th Fighter Squadron and the Michigan Air National Guard’s 127th Wing, landed on a four-lane stretch of Michigan state highway 32 as part of Northern Strike 21, a large-scale training exercise, in Alpena, last week.

While the Air Force has long trained to operate from roadways in Europe and Asia, and it is a common tactic often trained by overseas allies, it is super rare here in the states.

“This is the first time in history that the Air Force has purposely landed modern aircraft on a civilian roadway in the U.S.,” said the service in a statement.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alex M. Miller)

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alex M. Miller)

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alex M. Miller)

From the USAF: 

The 355th Wing participation in this exercise demonstrates the unit’s continued effort to refine its agile combat employment capabilities and Dynamic Wing concept, which improve its Airmen’s ability to operate from austere locations with limited infrastructure and personnel. The A-10’s ability to land on a variety of surfaces, like highways and unimproved landing strips, allows the Air Force to project combat airpower closer quickly.

“This proof of concept proves that we can land on any highway and continue to operate,” said Capt. John Renner, 354th FS flight commander and one of the pilots who participated in the highway landing. “The A-10 allows us to land a lot more places to get fuel, weapons and other armament so we can operate anywhere, anytime. This will allow us to get away from using built-up bases that our adversaries can target by moving much more rapidly.”

Two C-146A Wolfhounds [Dornier 328s] assigned to the Air Force Special Operations Command also executed highway landings as part of the exercise, highlighting the service’s ability to integrate and employ diverse missions in austere environments. These landings align with Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr.’s “Accelerate Change or Lose” strategic approach by testing and proving innovative tactics that are not typically trained to, which positions the force to outpace any potential adversary.

“This is a small step toward increasing our confidence in operating from austere locations,” said Lt. Col. Gary Glojek, 354th FS commander. “We are increasing the number of areas we can operate from to generate and deliver attack airpower by operating from dirt and pavement runways. Accelerating change is all about seizing every opportunity to move forward to increase your readiness.”

The Michigan State Police assisted the operation by blocking off the rural highway in the LP.

“No speeding citations were issued during the exercise,” noted MSP on social media.

The Red Devils Return to Normandy after 74 years, complete with invasion stripes

A U.S. Air Force A-10C Thunderbolt II assigned to the 127th Wing, Michigan Air National Guard flies over Normandy painted with non-standard markings in honor of the 100th Anniversary of the Red Devils of the 107th Fighter Squadron.

From the Michigan Air Guard:

The Red Devils of the 107th Fighter Squadron flew over northern France Sunday, as part of the official ceremony to mark the 74th anniversary of D-Day, the massive Allied invasion of the European mainland in World War II. The successful invasion ultimately led to Allied victory over the Axis Powers. In 1944, the 107th, then designated as a Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, flew several hundred reconnaissance missions over the beaches of Normandy, France, allowing the Allied High Command to plan an invasion path. In 2018 – flying their first mission in France since World War II – two 107th pilots escorted in group of nine C-130 Hercules and similar aircraft from multiple nations as they dropped about 500 paratroops near Sainte-Mere-Eglise, France, the same town where paratroopers landed as part of D-Day.

The 107th provided more than 9,000 intelligence photos to the Allied High Command in the weeks before D-Day. The photos showed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of defensive positions along the beach, placed by the army of Nazi Germany in advance of the expected invasion. More than 1,600 U.S. soldiers died during the D-Day invasions. Though highly costly in terms of human sacrifice, the invasion allowed Allied forces to gain a foothold on the European mainland and begin the march to victory in the war. Thirteen 107th pilots were shot down and killed in action during World War II. Three others who were shot down spent part of the war as a Prisoner of War.