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U.S. Air Force Reserve Lt. Col. Mike Bumpus A-10 pilot shares enthusiams for aircraft

By British Flt. Leader Howard Leader International Security Assistance Force KABUL, Afghanistan, Jan. 5, 2004 €“€“ Two weeks from the end of a four-month tour in Afghanistan, U.S. Air Force Reserve Lt. Col. Mike Bumpus had the chance to show off his A-10 "Warthog" to a visiting German general. Lt. Gen. Wolf-Dieter Loser, Deputy Commander Operations on a visit from the Headquarters of the International Security Assistance Force, was keen to see an A-10 up close and spent the afternoon with the 706th Fighter Squadron serving in Afghanistan. [caption id="attachment_3156" align="alignleft" width="308"]kabul_01.05.04_u.s._air_force_bumpus German Lt. Gen. Wolf-Dieter Loser (right) gets a bird's eye view from the cockpit of an A-10 "Warthog" by U.S. Army Lt. Col. Mike Bumpus during the general's recent visit to Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan. U.S. Army photo by Capt. Mike Nicolson[/caption] At the end of his tour, the general presented Bumpus with a commemorative coin - a fitting end to what Bumpus says has been an exciting tour. "(The A-10 is) a great aircraft to fly, I always liken it to riding a motorcycle or a sports car, it's responsive and enjoyable" U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Mike Bumpus.At the end of his tour, the general presented Bumpus with a commemorative coin - a fitting end to what Bumpus says has been an exciting tour. Bumpus, an A-10 flight commander with the "Cajuns" based in New Orleans, is an airline pilot in his civilian job and flying passenger jets for the airlines is a far cry from flying the A-10. His single-seat ground attack aircraft is no more than a large gun with wings and has worked hard in Afghanistan, affording close air support to all kinds of security operations. Its advanced sensory equipment offers security forces an all-seeing eye in the sky and can track fugitives on the run until they are apprehended. "It's a great aircraft to fly, I always liken it to riding a motorcycle or a sports car, it's responsive and enjoyable" said Bumpus. "The highlight of this tour for me has been the chance to work closely with the other units here. "In the main, our role is to look after our guys, and serving here has been a real privilege." But the work is by no means straight forward. "The altitude, mountains, dust and extremes of weather are in themselves very challenging," he said. "The conditions make you work hard and I think we're all better pilots for the experience."
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