US Air Force Pilot Surpasses 3,000 Hours in A-10 Thunderbolt
Dispatches from the Front:
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan, Nov. 29, 2008 -- The list of single-seat fighter pilots who have flown 3,000 hours in one particular aircraft is short. On Nov. 21, a new name was added to that list when Lt. Col. David Dressel, flew his 3,000th hour in an A-10 Thunderbolt II while flying a close air support mission over Afghanistan.
Dressel, a native of Watertown, Minn., began flying in 1991. The A-10 was his number one choice coming out of pilot training.
“When I was a senior in high school I was placed in a Minnesota mentor program where you go to school half time and work with an industry half time,” he said. “I was interested in aviation and was placed with a company that designed bullets for the military. I was put on a design team that built 30 mm shells for the A-10. I said this is awesome. The only plane that carried the 30 mm cannon was the A-10 – that’s what leads me down that road.”
From his first sortie in the A-10 at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., 18 years ago, to flying combat sorties in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Dressel has come a long way.
“You remember where you were when you hit 1,000 and when you hit 2,000 hours,” he said. “To hit 3,000 hours in a combat sortie was really special.”
Colonel Dressel, deployed with the 75th Fighter Squadron from Moody Air Force Base, Ga., is no stranger to combat. He has deployed in support of Operations Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. He said there is no other place he would rather be than deployed.
“Our job is to support the guys on the ground,” he said. “Unlike other aircraft, that’s our main focus – providing close air support to guys on the ground, slugging it out day after day, 24/7.”
“Back home you rate your success on how well you performed,” he continued. “Here, you rate your success on how well the ground guys do. Our success comes down to whether or not the ground commander was able to accomplish his mission.”
Despite his accomplishments, this veteran pilot tips his hat to the new pilots he works with.
“It was seven years before I shot in combat,” he said. “When I came in, we were a nation at peace, now we are in a conflict. Anyone who signed up after 9/11 knew they were going to deploy and see combat. My hat’s off to them.”
Next for Dressel is passing 500 combat hours in the A-10 – something he is on track to accomplish during this deployment.
(Report by Staff Sgt. Rachel Martinez, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs.)
Tags: DOD, Military, War, United States, U.S., al Qaeda, al Qaida, GWOT, terrorism, Taliban, Open Thread, Wire, Headlines, Dispatches from the Front
Global Tags: Washington DC, News and Politics, News, Politics, Current Events, Current Affairs, Life, Culture, Buzz, Tension