Taken on May 12, 2021 the cool photos in this post show the 190th Fighter Squadron, 124th Fighter Wing, Boise, Idaho, A-10 Thunderbolt II with the newly painted World War II heritage paint scheme flying from the Air National Guard’s paint facility in Sioux City, Iowa to its new home at the Idaho Air National Guard, Gowen Field, Idaho.
The heritage A-10 aircraft was recently revealed and pays tribute to the Thunderbolt’s World War II predecessor.
Actually, the paint scheme on the A-10 was conceived by the 124th Fighter Wing of the Idaho ANG in order to celebrate the unit’s 75th anniversary and their lineage to the WWII era 405th Fighter Squadron.
As explained by Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot, 185th Air Refueling Wing, in the article ANG paint facility paints P-47 scheme on Thunderbolt II, following the 2nd World War many active flying units remained in service but were renumbered as they were reassigned to units of the National Guard. National Guard units were authorized to receive equipment, pilots, aircraft maintainers and support personal as they were being moved back to the United Sates.
The 124th Fighter Wing was one of dozens of Air Guard units that can trace their lineage directly to their WWII predecessor, in this case the 405th Fighter Squadron. The heritage scheme on the Idaho Air Guard A-10 is designed to replicate the paint as it appeared on the original P-47 Thunderbolt of the 405th while the unit was based in Western France in 1944.
The paint gets down to the details with a white nose, WWII era US Air Force (USAF) roundels on the fuselage and wing, along with D-Day Invasion stripes all painted over an olive drab base coat. The “8N” painted on the side of the aircraft indicates the aircraft code of the 405th Fighter Squadron.
It is not just the unit but the aircraft that also share a common linage. Manufactured by Republic Aviation, the P-47 was one of the most famous US Army Air Forces fighter planes in World War II. Although the P-47 was originally conceived as lightweight interceptor, it became a heavy fighter-bomber — the P-47’s maximum weight was over 17,000 pounds, while the comparable P-51 Mustang‘s was about 12,000 pounds. The prototype made its first flight in May 1941, and Republic delivered the first production P-47 in March 1942. In April 1943 over Western Europe, the Thunderbolt flew its first combat mission.
During WWII, the Thunderbolt served in almost every war theater and in the forces of several Allied nations. Used as a high-altitude escort fighter and a low-level fighter-bomber, the P-47 quickly gained a reputation for ruggedness. Its sturdy construction and air-cooled radial engine enabled the Thunderbolt to absorb severe battle damage and keep flying. By the end of WWII, more than 15,000 Thunderbolts had been built.
After the war the P-47 remained in service in the U.S. Air National Guard through the early 1950’s where it was used as a cost saving way to train aircrew. During the war the British Royal Air Force adapted their P-47D aircraft to be used primarily as a ground attack aircraft, similar to the mission of the A-10 today.
The younger sibling of the P-47, the A-10 Thunderbolt II was manufactured by Fairchild Republic and designed specifically for close air support. With its heavy 30mm rotary cannon it is commonly known the tank killer.
Photo credit: Staff Sgt Mercedee Wilds / U.S. Air National Guard
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