BizDEFENSE continued from page 136 • The “Jet Age” began at the base in February 1953 with the arrival of four Lockheed T-33 training jets. A month earlier D-M’s runway was widened and lengthened to make way for the first jet bomber – the B-47 Stratojet. • In 1960, missions that were absent from D-M since WWII returned to the base – Reconnaissance and Combat Crew Training. • That same year an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile wing was established at D-M. It was announced that 18 sites around Tucson had been selected for construction of Titan II missile silos. The Titan II Missile program was built and became fully functional on Nov. 30, 1963. • On Nov. 8, 1965, the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing was moved from McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas to Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base in Thailand. Following its service during the Vietnam War, the wing moved from Thailand to its new home at Davis-Monthan on July 1, 1971. • The A-7 aircraft was the major focus of training at D-M in the years leading to the arrival of the A-10 Thunderbolt. As the A-10 systematically replaced the A-7, the wing was re-designated as the 355th Tactical Training Wing on Sept. 1, 1979. The wing’s mission rested solely on A-10 training from that point forward. • The A-10 saw combat for the first time during the Gulf War in 1991. The aircraft destroyed more than 1,000 Iraqi tanks, 2,000 military vehicles and 1,200 artillery pieces. Just seven A-10s were shot down during the war – far fewer than military planners expected. A-10s flew 8,100 sorties and launched 90 percent of the AGM-65 Maverick missiles fired in the conflict. While burning oil wells provided Iraqi tanks with cover from advanced electronics and highflying fighters such as the F-16, the smoke proved to be ineffective cover for the trained eye of A-10 attack pilots. A-10s from the 355th Wing were also used in subsequent military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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