The Drive has a really great article about a young Fairchild Republic A-10 driver in the “Flying Tigers” of the 74th Fighter Squadron, Lt. Kayla Bowers, call-sign Banzai.
And she wanted to fly A-10s, the newest of which is now 32-years-old, from the get go.
“I started researching the different aircraft,” says Banzai, “and when I learned about what an incredible platform the A-10 is, and looked at its combat search and rescue (CSAR) mission—it intrigued me. I also heard stories about it from high school friends who had enlisted in the Marine Corps and the Army. They had already deployed and told me stories of the A-10 saving their lives. It just really spoke to me that I could potentially do something like that, and make such a difference in somebody’s life. It’s not glamorous. Really, it’s just a very rugged aircraft that has a lot of capabilities. It’s just really incredible.”
Currently deployed to Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, they have been flying missions with Bulgarian Air Force’s Su-25 Frogfoots, the A-10s Soviet-designed counterpart, and Mi-24 Hind attack helicopters, which is something the original A-10 designers probably never dreamed of in their wildest fantasy.
There are like 40+ images in the piece from Frank Crebas of Bluelife Aviation & Rich Cooper of the Centre of Aviation Photography that are truly breathtaking, so do yourself a favor and head over there.