Arizona’s U.S. representatives and senators are again rallying in support of the A-10 “Warthog.”
Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., introduced a bill this week calling on the House of Representatives to continue funding the Air Force program.
The bill has already received support from Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz.; Rep. Tom O’Halleran, D-Ariz.; and Rep. Greg Stanton, D-Ariz. Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., sponsored a Senate version of the legislation.
The Air Force has used the A-10 Thunderbolt II, nicknamed “the Warthog,” since 1975, when the attack planes were delivered to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, according to the Air Force website. It was the first aircraft designed for close support of ground forces.
“The A-10 Warthog is a vital fixture of Southern Arizona and the bedrock of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, which employs hundreds of airmen and contributes millions of dollars to our local economy,” Kirkpatrick said in a written statement.
Arizona’s Tucson-based 2nd Congressional District, which Kirkpatrick represents, “is home to the largest contingent of the A-10 fleet, and preserving this aircraft is one of my top priorities,” she said.
In the resolution, Kirkpatrick describes the A-10 “as striking fear in the enemies of the United States and inspiring pride in the members of the Armed Forces.”
Kelly said he understands the importance that the Warthogs have to those on the ground from his experience.
“As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I believe protecting the A-10 is in the best interest of our national security which is why I’m working with Republicans and Democrats to ensure that we keep the A-10 flying,” Kelly said.
Kelly and Kirkpatrick are upholding a long tradition of Arizona members of Congress working to keep the Pentagon from mothballing the A-10. The late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who chaired the influential Senate Armed Services Committee, former Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., and former Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., played past roles in keeping the A-10 flying.
Last year, the Air Force planned to retire 44 A-10s but the plan was postponed after Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act.
“I am proud to work with this group of lawmakers to ensure this fleet of aircraft remains ready to provide air support for our service members for years to come,” Kirkpatrick said.