“The quality training the A-10 community provided and faith in the superb capability of the A-10 gun system helped us grapple with the challenges we faced that day,” Maj. Kyle “Metric” Adkison, A-10C pilot.
Maj. Gen. R. Scott Jobe, Director of Plans, Programs, and Requirements, Headquarters Air Combat Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, presented Maj. Kyle “Metric” Adkison, 59th Test and Evaluation Squadron A-10C Operational Test pilot, the Distinguished Flying Cross with combat device on Nov. 22, 2022, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.
“This is a great day for us as an Air Force, for us a warfighting community, to really recognize the heroism of Maj. Adkison’s actions in combat operations,” said Jobe. “People like Metric are so good at what they do, and he is rightfully being recognized.”
As reported by 1st Lt Lindsey Heflin and Mr. Mike Hasenauer, 53rd Wing, in the article 53rd Wing A-10C pilot receives the Distinguished Flying Cross for Combat Ops, Maj. Adkison earned the Distinguished Flying Cross with the “C” device (the “C” device was established in 2016 to distinguish an award earned for exceptionally meritorious service or achievement performed under combat conditions) as an A-10C pilot for extraordinary achievement while supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, August 2019.
He simultaneously managed two ground controllers on separate frequencies while supporting friendly clearing operations and locating enemy forces in dense urban terrain. Additionally, he facilitated airspace control into and out of the operating area and coordinated four troops-in contact (TIC) engagements, disrupting a surprise grenade attack.
Maj. Adkison demonstrated exceptional flying skill by engaging danger-close strafing passes as close as five meters from friendly forces, halting the enemy onslaught and protecting coalition forces.
“The quality training the A-10 community provided and faith in the superb capability of the A-10 gun system helped us grapple with the challenges we faced that day,” said Adkison. “The JTACs were extremely professional and competent, and their composure under fire was critical in enabling us to do what we did.”
In three separate instances of friendly forces taking effective fire, Adkison coordinated attacks with multiple AH-64 Apache helicopters and split his flight to more efficiently engage the enemy across different locations.
The actions of Maj. Adkison and his wingman, Capt. Erin Fullam, successfully broke contact with enemy forces, protected friendly positions, and prevented coalition casualties.
The distinguished flying cross is awarded for heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight. Both heroism and achievement must be entirely distinctive, involving operations that are not routine.
“I am honored and humbled to be awarded this medal, but I’m convinced that any A-10 pilot would be able to do just as well, if not better than Capt Fullam and I,” said Adkison. “We just happened to be the ones flying the lines this day. You don’t have to go far in the A-10 community to find someone with a similar story, many of which have received no recognition. The A-10 community is filled with incredible people doing exceptional things in an exceptional aircraft and I’m honored to count myself among these heroes.”
The A-10C Thunderbolt II is the first Air Force aircraft specially designed for close air support of ground forces. They are simple, effective and survivable twin-engine jet aircraft that can be used against light maritime attack aircraft and all ground targets, including tanks and other armored vehicles.
The Thunderbolt II’s 30mm GAU-8/A Gatling gun can fire 3,900 rounds a minute and can defeat an array of ground targets to include tanks.
Some of their other equipment include electronic countermeasures, target penetration aids, self-protection systems and an array of air-to-surface weapons, including laser and GPS guided munitions, AGM-65 Maverick and AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles.
Photo credit: Senior Airman Cydnie Williams / U.S. Air Force