Support for the A-10 felt at town hall meetings - Tucson News Now

Support for the A-10 felt at town hall meetings

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Applause from a room of about 40 people at the Miller-Golf Links library Wednesday night marked a battle cry in the effort to defend the A-10.

"This is the airplane that protects the young people in those convoys, in those small unit engagements.  The A10 is the airplane that protects them. Not the B1," said former A-10 pilot and current instructor Robin Stoddard.

"I've dealt a great deal with Marines, and been with Marines, and as infantry we looked forward to the air support that was going to help in any activity that we had, especially when I was an advisor in Vietnam," said retired Marine Corps Colonel Ron McCrindle.

That's the ammunition the A-10 needs in the fight to keep flying. Two in the cockpit are former A-10 pilot and retired Lieutenant Colonel Tom Norris, and retired Command Chief Master Sergeant Chuck Wooten, who is also running for Congress but says this isn't about his campaign.

"As an Air Force veteran, I took a deep interest in it from a national defense perspective, not a political perspective. So my candidacy really has nothing to do with what we're doing here today," Wooten said.

"We are not there to fly around in Orbitz, hoping for an air to air fight, or nuclear deterrence or to move cargo. Our job is to support those people on the ground, so whatever they need whenever they need it we go there," Norris said.

Norris will seek more stories from the battlefield because he doesn't see a possible move by Congress to mothball the A-10 as any better than retiring it. 

"It is semantics. When you put an airplane in the bone yard, you roll it in there, all the people who supported it and flew it are leaving Tucson. That airplane will go into the bone yard and it will take at least 6 months minimum to pull it back out. By that time, a lot of our sons and daughters will be dead," Norris said.

Another town hall is scheduled at the Wilmot library at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 15th.

Copyright 2014 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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