A-10 Thunderbolt: Close Air Support, Close Cooperation

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On April 6, 2003, Lt. Col. Raymond Strasburger and Capt. Gregory Thornton, A-10 Thunderbolt II pilots in the 75th Fighter Squadron, were operating near Baghdad when they heard a ground forward air controller call out: "We are taking heavy fire, we need you now!" Strasburger and Thornton made multiple 30mm gun, rocket, and missile attacks through very heavy anti-aircraft fire and blinding sandstorms to decimate an enemy Republican Guard armored force. When the 33-minute engagement was over, their two-aircraft flight, named “Demob 71” for this mission, had destroyed three T-72 tanks, six armored personnel carriers and several other enemy vehicles. For their gallantry in action, Strasburger and Thornton were both awarded Silver Stars.


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