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    If You Don’t Know Where You’ve Been, How Do You Know Where You’re Going

    Idaho Unveils a Heritage Hawg

    Photo By Senior Master Sgt. Joshua Allmaras | A heritage A-10 Thunderbolt II, from the 124th Fighter Wing, bears the name of Flight...... read more read more

    BOISE, ID, UNITED STATES

    05.24.2021

    Story by Senior Master Sgt. Joshua Allmaras 

    124th Fighter Wing

    The 124th Fighter Wing unveiled a specially painted heritage A-10 Thunderbolt II during a 75th anniversary ceremony at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho, May 24, 2021.

    The aircraft is painted to pay homage to its lineage from the 405th Fighter Squadron and to remember the 190th Fighter Squadron’s birthday, May 24, 1946.

    “Painting this Hog in the markings of our World War II P-47's is a statement: we value our heritage, and honoring the achievements and sacrifices made by the men of the 405th Fighter Squadron is not only important, it's our duty,” said Maj. Tom Silkowski, a pilot from the 190th Fighter Squadron.

    During World War II, the 405th FS was key to the success of the Allied forces.

    The 405th FS was activated July 15, 1943, and was armed with the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt. During the war and its 14-month activation, the 405th FS, commonly referred to as Discharge Squadron, would find themselves heavily involved in the Allied air campaign. This included being involved in the D-Day invasion at Omaha and Utah Beaches, forward deploying to support Allied ground forces, and being one of the keys to the survival of “The Lost Battalion” in the Vosges Mountains of France. One of the distinctive accomplishments of the 405th was their direct support of Gen. Patton’s breakthrough on the Rhine River which earned them a Distinguished Unit Citation said Capt. Andrew Hassell, a pilot with the 190th Fighter Squadron, during his speech at the ceremony.

    Many lessons were learned from the war.

    “One of the great lessons learned then from World War II is that we needed a more robust air reserve capability, ready at the drop of a hat to support the active-duty forces should conflict come,” said Mr. Terrence G. Popravak, Jr., an aviation and history consultant. “That concept was implemented in 1946 when a number of former active-duty Army Air Corps units were redesignated and allotted to different states to help build up the Air National Guard, to provide that robust air reserve component to help the active-duty forces.”

    Knowing our history is critical to our future success.

    “History is important to remember because if you don’t know where you’ve been, how do you know where you’re going,” Popravak asked.

    The past ties us all together and it can define who we are as a wing.

    “It's more than just history – it's our heritage, it's who we are,” said Silkowski. “Renumbering the 405th Fighter Squadron to the 190th Fighter Squadron was a thoughtful act made with deliberate intent: this squadron's achievements and sacrifices are now your achievements and sacrifices – remember them, strive to measure up to them and, most importantly, make the men of the 405th proud every day.”

    This is why the aircraft was painted the way it is, to remember and honor the 405th FS and the wing’s heritage.

    “Every aspect of that paint job, down to the smallest detail, is deliberate and faithful to how our P-47's looked in the summer of 1944,” said Silkowski. “We weren't going for glitz and a superficial ‘wow factor.’ This isn't a toy airplane; it's one of our beautiful A-10 Thunderbolt II's dressed in the same scheme worn by our P-47 Thunderbolts in World War II. It's like a little boy wearing his dad's military uniform. I think that's what makes it so special.”

    Having an aircraft painted in honor of the wing’s heritage is special and has deeper meaning than just a new paint job.

    “This newly painted aircraft is not only a vivid reminder of our earliest beginnings, but a symbol of so many Idaho Citizen Airmen that have humbly and courageously served our nation and state for so many years,” said Col. Shannon Smith, the 124th Fighter Wing commander. “With fewer and fewer Americans serving in our armed services, it is more important than ever that we remember the sacrifices of those who have gone before and those serving today. 2020 and 2021 have been stark reminders of how valuable our National Guard continues to be, to both our federal warfighting mission and our guardian mission here in the homeland.”

    Smith added, “Guardsmen of today should be intimately familiar with our beginnings and our heritage. It is this very heritage that we measure ourselves against everyday as we carry out our mission; and it is this very heritage that we build upon that rightfully secures the Idaho Air National Guard's place in history, now and for the foreseeable future.”

    “As with most projects, many people have a hand in its success. This is no different. The Air National Guard Paint Facility in Sioux City provided the professional paint job, Mr. Popravak, Jr. dug into the history of the 405th, and Staff Sgt. Mitch Burley from the 124th’s structural shop provided key attention to detail, a creative eye and the follow-through to see this project to its completion,” said Silkowski.

    The wing is not the only ones who will get to enjoy this newly painted aircraft.

    “We're very excited to share this aircraft with our community, and the families of our guardsmen,” said Smith. “From our beginnings, we have relied on the selfless sacrifice of loved ones and the employers of our guardsmen, as we have repeatedly answered the call to action from our nation and state. This beautiful aircraft is a chance for the Idaho Air National Guard to offer our gratitude for the incredible support we've received from our state's leaders and each and every citizen.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 05.24.2021
    Date Posted: 05.24.2021 23:37
    Story ID: 397288
    Location: BOISE, ID, US 

    Web Views: 57
    Downloads: 3

    PUBLIC DOMAIN