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D-M receives last A-10s out of Europe

Five A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft land at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., May 23, 2013.The A-10s were part of the 81st Fighter Squadron out of Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, and were the last A-10s in Europe.

Five A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft land at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., May 23, 2013.The A-10s were part of the 81st Fighter Squadron out of Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, and were the last A-10s in Europe.

Five A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany land at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., May 23, 2013. The tail-flash identifying it as a Spangdahlem aircraft will be painted over with a D-M tail-flash.

Five A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany land at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., May 23, 2013. The tail-flash identifying it as a Spangdahlem aircraft will be painted over with a D-M tail-flash.

Paintings of squadron affiliation are displayed on a panel on an A-10C Thunderbolt II that landed after Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., May 23, 2013. The 81st Fighter Squadron out of Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany will be inactivated in June.

Paintings of squadron affiliation are displayed on a panel on an A-10C Thunderbolt II that landed after Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., May 23, 2013. The 81st Fighter Squadron out of Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany will be inactivated in June.

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Five A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft arrived here from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, May 23.

The A-10s were part of the 81st Fighter Squadron, which will be inactivated in June. The event marks the removal of all A-10s stationed in Europe.

D-M has received multiple A-10 aircraft from Spangdahlem during the last few weeks.

These aircraft have been transferred to D-M due to budget cuts. This is a historic event as some of these aircraft have never operationally flown in the states.

The event doesn't just affect Spangdahlem, but the pilots as well. This flight was the last for Lt. Col. Clinton Eichelberger, 81st FS commander.

"It's a little bittersweet," Eichelberger said. "There is a time and place where everything needs to come to an end, and I have been very fortunate throughout my career."

Eichelberger was commander of the 81st FS for almost a year. With the squadron being shut down, Eichelberger is scheduled to attend a professional military education.

Captain Joshua Jones, 81st FS B-flight commander, is also affected. He will transfer to D-M and continue to fly the A-10 under new command.

"It's nice to fly into D-M where these jets will continue to fly," Jones said. "It's also very sad to put the jets away, and see the tail-flashes go away eventually."

The tail-flash is two letters with a design on the tail indicating which base and squadron an aircraft is assigned. The "SP" with a yellow strip above it will soon be painted over ending the A-10 identification in Germany.





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