The U.S. Air Force A-10C Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team, assigned to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, showcased a Vietnam-era SouthEast Asia (SEA) camouflage paint scheme at the Festival of Flight airshow onboard Naval Air Facility (NAF) El Centro, March 13, 2021. The U.S. Air Force unveiled a new Vietnam War-era paint scheme for the demonstration jet in honor of the 97 Airmen assigned to the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing, who either made the ultimate sacrifice of losing their lives during that conflict or became prisoners of war. The upper surfaces of the A-10C have been painted with medium green, dark green and dark tan patches, while the lower surfaces have been painted with camouflage gray, in line with the same colors used by the US Air Force aircraft during the Vietnam conflict.
“Our latest message with the A-10 Demo Team is to promote an annual heritage paint-scheme,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brian Pontes, crew chief. “This year we are inspired by the United States Navy River Rats and the F-105 Thunderchiefs of the Vietnam War. I think it’s a fitting tribute because like the A-10, the F-105 was a dominate attack aircraft. The A-10 is the Air Force’s premier close air support (CAS) aircraft, providing invaluable protection to allied-troops on the ground. Despite its reputation as a flying-tank, the airshow will demonstrate how graceful and agile it can operate within a low-cloud ceiling.” Pontes said.
To honor the Prisoners of War, Missing in Action and Veterans, the starboard side of the A-10’s nose features the names of all the unit’s members who lost their lives or were captured during the conflict, accompanied by the National League of Families POW/MIA flag. The Festival Flight is the Navy’s largest community outreach event in the Imperial Valley region. This year’s schedule includes the highly-anticipated performances by the Navy’s elite flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels who will mark their 75th anniversary and are transitioning to the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets. The mission of NAF El Centro is to support the combat training and readiness of the warfighter. This includes air operations support to operational fleet and training squadrons as well as squadrons from other services (Marine Corps, Army, Air Force) and international partners.
The A-10 is the U.S. Air Force’s premier close air support aircraft, providing invaluable protection to troops on the ground. The U.S. Air Combat Command A-10C Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team, stationed out of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, brings the aircraft to air shows around the country to showcase the unique combat capabilities of the A-10 “Warthog.” With upgrades through the years, it’s gained a reputation as one tough, highly maneuverable, low altitude attack aircraft. The Warthog can survive direct hits from armor-piercing and high explosive projectiles, even flying when hydraulic power is lost. Known as the “tank buster”, the Thunderbolt II has served in many conflicts including Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.