NGAUS Washington Report
(March 29, 2016) Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., a supporter of the A-10 aircraft the Air Force wants to retire, told Pentagon leaders the service should dump bands and turn musicians into mechanics if manning levels are its reason for scrapping the fighter jet, according to Air Force Times.
A member of the House Armed Services Committee, McSally, a former A-10 pilot, told Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, last week, “If we really had a manning crisis, from my perspective, we would really tell people to put down the tuba and pick up a wrench or a gun.”
She was reacting to the Air Force’s “newest excuse,” as she called it, for retiring the aircraft that performs the close-air support mission. She noted that the service has “hundreds of people playing the tuba and the clarinet.”
Air Force bands include about 540 enlisted airmen and 20 officers, the service told Air Force Times.
The Air Force currently plans to rid its fleet of the A-10 by 2022 and perform the close-air support mission with the F-35, which has not yet been tested on the battlefield.