VDT Moody A-10

Courtesy of www.defendamerica.mil, U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Catie Hauge. The distinctive Flying Tigers artwork is displayed on the nose of a 23rd Fighter Group Flying Tigers' A-10. The Flying Tigers are the only Air Force unit authorized to display nose art on their aircraft, due to the history it symbolizes.

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE — Moody Air Force Base officials are set to welcome the first round of A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft during a Friday morning ceremony at Pope Air Force Base, N.C. The event signifies transferring operational control of the group from the 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour-Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina to Moody’s 347th Rescue Wing, said Col. Kenn Todorov, Moody vice commander. Though the ceremony affects aircraft assigned to Moody by Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) changes, it is not directly correlated to BRAC, but is part of the overall changes happening throughout the entire Air Force, he said.

“This change is an organizational realignment designed to better enhance the Air Force's ability to provide the best possible options to combatant commanders such as Central Command or Northern Command,” Todorov said.

The 23rd Fighter Group — “Flying Tigers” — will become part of Moody’s 347th Rescue Wing sometime in mid 2007. The group is part of the 4th Fighter Wing, which reports to the 9th Air Force. Lt. Gen. Gary North, 9th Air Force commander, will preside over Friday’s ceremony.

The unit will come in as Moody’s 479th Flying Training Group heads out. Other changes include the addition of A-10 units from Bradley Air National Guard Base in Connecticut and Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska.

Todorov said the 23rd Fighter Group’s move will be incremental, starting with personnel moves in early 2007 and aircraft rolling in later in the calendar year.

“Prior to coming to Moody, the aircraft will receive upgrades at Shaw (AFB) to various systems and could deploy to the Central Command Area of Responsibility,” Todorov said.

The changes, designed to produce a more streamlined Air Force structure, puts the A-10s with other Air Combat Command rescue assets, like the HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters and HC-130 Hercules aircraft. The move is intended to provide a better product to the Air Force’s customers, the combatant commanders, Todorov said.

“The wing’s planners are working with Air Force planners to ensure we enact the moves in a methodical fashion,” Todorov said. “This process has a lot of moving parts ... aircraft, infrastructure, personnel are just a few, so our planners are looking at all the aspects to ensure it happens as smoothly as possible.”

For personnel purposes, Moody’s 347th Rescue Wing will eventually deactivate and be re-designated as the 23rd Wing. The A-10s of the 23rd Fighter Group bear the name Flying Tigers, the group which fought against the Japanese in World War II. Moody will adopt the banner of the Flying Tigers, though the rescue mission will remain with the wing.

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