The Pentagon is set to soon deploy the 122nd Fighter Wing of the Indiana Air National Guard, nicknamed the Blacksnakes, over to the Middle East in support of the US-led mission against the Islamic State, according to the Huntington County TAB. The deployment reportedly consists of 300 units along with twelve A-10 Warthog Fighter Jets.
Nothing specific about the Air Guard’s deployment was made public until the Indiana branch recently announced it had been called into service.
Once officially activated, the 122nd will take orders from the USAF Combat Command.
Col. Patrick R. Renwick, the commander of the 122nd Fighter Wing, said in a statement: “I don’t know of a time in Blacksnake history we have taken this kind of aviation footprint forward. The A-10 Warthog is uniquely suited for the Combatant Commander’s needs, and the Blacksnakes are the right team to bring that capability to combat… The Airmen of the 122nd Fighter Wing are trained and ready to answer our nation’s call to duty. The Air National Guard and the Blacksnakes are a proven choice in combat, I have no doubt we can accomplish the mission assigned.
The report stated that the Airmen have been preparing for some time for the possibility that they would be deployed to the Middle East. They are said to have undergone training ranging from cultural programs to weapons mastery to emergency medical assistance training.
Col. Craig E. Ash, the 122nd’s Wing Maintenance Group Commander, said: “I’m excited for our maintainers. We have the best training equipment and aircraft in the world; we’ve been preparing and training for this deployment for the past few months; and I am fully confident in our ability to deploy one of the country’s most lethal fighting forces to support and defend U.S. efforts abroad.
The A-10 Thunderbolt II, which is more commonly known as “Warthog” or “Hog,” is a Fighter Jet that specializes in close air support for ground units. It sports a massive rotary cannon designed to successfully attack tanks and other ground targets.