To the editor: Why isn't the U.S. Air Force using the A-10 — a perfectly effective ground-attack plane on the chopping block — to attack the Islamic State columns that seem to roam the desert with impunity? We see only "pin-pricks" by sophisticated but wholly inadequate aircraft on isolated personnel and vehicles. ("Saving the Warthog to save troop lives," Op-Ed, Dec. 1)
The Air Force should give the A-10 to the Army so ground troops would have their own close air support (as they did prior to 1947). This idea still works very well for the Marine Corps, which has its own air arm.
Using the A-10 (and proposed follow-on versions promptly rejected by the Air Force) as the backbone of the reconstituted Army support air force makes sense, particularly because the U.S. is not now fighting sophisticated enemies with an air force and long-range missiles, but ones with tanks and armored trucks. As Op-Ed article author Andrew Cockburn points out, the new F-35 is not suited to this mission.
James and Peggy Bailey, Banning
To the editor: Someone at the Pentagon has misunderstood the meaning of the term "close air support." The purpose of close air support is to, obviously, give support to ground troops. A supersonic stealthy aircraft is not the answer.
The Air Force should give its A-10 fleet to the Marine Corps. A simple upgrade to the A-10, plus a tail hook, and the Marine aviation wings that are exclusively dedicated to close air support would have an aircraft dedicated to the "grunt on the ground."
Darcy Vernier, Marina del Rey
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