A two-star general has been removed from his post and issued a letter of reprimand for warning airmen under his command not to lobby Congress against retiring the Air Force’s beloved A-10 “Warthog” attack jet.
At the Air Force’s annual Weapons and Tactics conference on January 10, Maj. Gen. James Post III, the vice commander of the branch’s Air Combat Command, told an audience of more than 300 airmen that speaking to lawmakers about plans to retire the popular Cold War-era plane amounted to treason. His comments were made in response to a question about the A-10, a close air support aircraft.
“If anyone accuses me of saying this, I will deny it,”Post said. “Anyone who is passing information to Congress about A-10 capabilities is committing treason.”
Post went on at length, insisting that airmen have a duty to support the service’s chosen budget priorities by refraining from offering opinions inconsistent with those priorities, according to John Q. Public, a popular blog about the Air Force.
The Air Force is planning to retire about 300 Warthogs ‒ officially the A-10 Thunderbolt II ‒ over the next few years, which the service says would save $4.2 billion by 2019. The jet is ardently defended by military members from all branches ‒ due to its role in supporting ground troops in battle in Iraq and Afghanistan ‒ and on Capitol Hill.
The military plans to replace the A-10 with Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, an aircraft plagued with chronic cost overruns and delayed deliveries that will not be ready until at least 2019.