Air Force leaders wanting to send the A-10 Thunderbolt to the bone yard already have any number of lawmakers criticizing them from Capitol Hill.
Now they’ve got “Lone Wolf McQuade” coming after them.
Action star Chuck Norris – an Air Force veteran – on Monday delivered an editorial roundhouse kick to the Air Force, arguing on the World Net Daily website that the “Warthog” – as it is known – still has plenty of fight left in it.
In the ongoing campaign against ISIS, Norris writes, “the A-10′s utility is warranted even more now than ever.”
“Its firepower capability, speed and accuracy, frequent war use, and the oft-painted teeth on its nose cone have made it one of the military’s most popular aircraft,” Norris wrote.
Norris said its “combination of large and varied ordnance load, long loiter time, accurate weapons delivery, austere field capability, and survivability has proven invaluable to the United States and its allies.”
Congress has been running interference against Pentagon plans to dump the plane, saving it through 2015 with $635 million drawn from the war funding budget. But the Air Force has made clear it wants to begin retiring the Thunderbolt fleet next year, linking the move to paying for the development of the Joint Strike Fighter.
In his column, Norris throws some jabs at Warthog critics, including Air Combat Command Commander Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, who is quoted as saying: “There’s only so much you can get out of that airplane. Those airplanes are gonna wear out.”
“But that statement is true of every airplane in existence, and even the sun!” Norris wrote. “The question is: Is the fleet of A-10 ready for retirement? I just celebrated my 75th birthday, but I’m nowhere near ready to head to the scrapheap. Some things improve with age, and the A-10 has done just that, too.”
Norris, a martial arts world champion who began training while in the Air Force in the late 1950s, has achieved almost folk legend status -- portrayed as someone who can never be defeated and capable of bending man and nature to his will and fists.
The martial arts superstar has gained further recent fame with an influx of comedic one-liners about his perceived super powers such as -- “Chuck Norris died 20 years ago, Death just hasn't built up the courage to tell him yet,” or “Chuck Norris and Superman once fought each other on a bet. The loser had to start wearing his underwear on the outside of his pants.”
To further bring attention to and save the A-10, Norris is producing and selling a T-shirt with the words “Save the A-10” on the front, and on the back, “Chuck Norris’ First Born Son was a Warthog. He cried tears of ‘BRRRRRRRRRRRTTTTT.”
All proceeds from the T-shirt sales will go toward his martial arts charity, Kickstart Kids.
-- Bryant Jordan can be reached at Bryant.Jordan@military.com