A recent appearance by former A-10 pilot Colonel (ret.) Martha McSally, a candidate for CD2, on FOX’s On the Record with Greta Van Susteren has triggered a reaction in the A-10 community that can only be called lethal. In an appearance on the James T. Harris Show, on KQTH, A-10 legend Tom Norris shot down McSally’s carefully cultivated image.
In 2012, McSally seemed to appear in Arizona out of thin air, when she arrived to run for Congress after Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords announced her retirement forcing a Special Election in Congressional District 8 (CD8). Since that time, the protégé of John McCain has carefully crafted her personae as an authority on the A-10 while undergoing a startling makeover.
After her latest awkward appearance on Van Susteren’s show, Harris told his audience, “I wanted to have someone who really understood the capabilities of the A10 and the questions that were being asked by Greta to get a counterpoint. So, I’m bringing on the resident A-10 legend of the James T Harris show, Lt. Col. retired Tom-Chuck Norris.”
Harris: Welcome to 104.1 KQTH Tom.
Norris: James how are you doing?
Harris: I’m doing fantastic. I was listening to some of the things Martha McSally was saying, some of them sounded really, really good and then others I said what? Huh? Let’s back it up, uh Tom I want you to respond to some of the questions that were asked. First off Greta asked, are pilots safe going into combat?
Norris: In that particular theater, in this particular scenario, I think people who are really at risk are the civilians are there. I mean, you’ve got terrorists running around with enough firepower two and manpower to be able to overwhelm these cities throughout Iraq. So, by far the civilians are way more at risk than any pilots flying in that territory under these given conditions. Further based by what‘s on the you’ve got Navy Hornets and other aircraft dropping ordnance with what appears to be not a full command and control structure. To ensure that you’re not going to inadvertently injure civilians by our own bombs. So, by far way and above any risk that a pilot would have in that theatre I think the threat of civilian casualties is way greater.
Harris: Greta asked, if the use of air power could do this alone? I don’t think Mc Sally ever gave a clear answer to that question she hinted around it. But can airpower do this alone?
Norris: No. The real flight is on the ground always has been always will be. So in my opinion this is the way you would do this.
First off you would put two squadrons of A-10’s in that theater, doing 24/7 operations combined with advisors and I put advisors in quotes embedded into the Kurds, the friendly tribes as well as the Iraqi forces are there. You would embed those advisors, and then let muscle memory take over. Meaning that the attack community knows how to do this line work and would quickly and efficiently, with ultra safety to the civilians that are there, execute proper targets. Because remember again, with these types of conditions, when you are looking from high altitude through a particular sensor, a bad guy who appears to be a bad guy may not be, he may be a guy just herding goats out there. So it takes a really definitive process to ensure, above everything else, that you protect friendlies and you execute the targets that need to be executed. The only way to do that is with boots on the ground. And we’re not talking about a mass land army. What we’re talking about is the ability efficiently control and execute close air support. And then in addition to that I would put additional boots on the ground from our silent professionals out there to take care of business as required.
They may not be controlling tasks – but they would be taking – they would be doing God’s work taking out the bad guys as required. Once that’s done you get out of there.
Harris: When I was listening to the questioning here, Greta was asking about the pilots. McSally never said that they were using Hornets in the theater. As an A-10 pilot I thought that would be a good opportunity for McSally to further advance the need for the A-10. I mean she was not engaged in the fight for it back stateside, but here is a prime example, this is something the A-10 was made for and she never mentioned the fact ..Well she did say that the A-10’s would be better used in the situation but the question is how come they’re not being used?
Norris: Well the first thing, is that I thought about her arguments in regards as to why the A-10 is best suited over there – to use one of your words – was madness. It Made no sense, and did not capitalize on the true strengths of the aircraft, in regards, to the precision and non-precision aircraft. Yeah, the long loiter you saw, the picture in the background where the Hornets were hitting the tanker. And then you know, again the biggest part of this whole thing is whether it be up high, or down low, or whatever the case may be, the attack community can do that.
The biggest issue to me is that working with these so called advisors, is the muscle memory in this community. That is the biggest factor that is going to prevent civilian casualties.
Harris: Muscle memory for the community. Tom-Chuck can I hold you over? I got so engaged in the conversation that I wasn’t paying attention. My sexy sidekick said we gotta pay the bills.
Harris: You’re listening to 104.1 KQTH Tucson News and talk.
McSally, interviewed on Greta last night and here’s what she said when Greta asked her about flying into danger:
McSally: “Well every time we fly into enemy territory as a pilot we’re at risk, you’re at risk of potential small arms fire or rocket propelled grenades or other missiles. We also could have some sort of emergency where you have to eject. So every time we launch for one of these missions we’re ready to go and we we’re ready to survive on the ground evade and we’ve got the training to be able to do that. So you’re always at risk every time you go on a mission like this and actually the A-10 would be well suited for this situation because we do fly low lethal and very survivable with long loiter times and we do carry 1174 rounds of 30 millimeter on board, where you can actually hit targets and not hurt any friendly forces or civilians that are in very close proximity”
Harris: Tom what did you think of McSally’s explanation there?
Norris: Madness pure madness. I mean she was, there was a reason why she was under the highest level of supervision starting back in 1995, because she had severe lack of knowledge and credibility and it hasn’t changed. Based upon her threat assessment on what the largest threats are; small arms, automatic weapons, rocket propelled grenades, and the threat of ejecting? I mean, that is just preposterous looking at any AOR to come up with those three, against a U.S. Air Force or U.S. Navy, fixed wing aircraft is just ridiculous.
Small arms and automatic weapons their ranges are very low. A rocket propelled grenade is an unguided grenade and they are very effective against a variety of ground targets, helicopters etc but not…. neither one of these threats has ever shot down US Air Force or Navy fixed wing aircraft with small arms, automatic weapons, or rocket propelled grenades. I can’t think of one instance in the last 25 years. I don’t know where she’s getting that from. And any pilot that would say the big risk is having to eject? Risk compared to who, the people on the ground are at a hell of a lot bigger risk than that. I mean if you’re flying in air plane that you’re afraid to cross the border and go into combat with because you might have to eject, then you need to pick a different airplane.
Harris: I thought she was talking about the f-35 personally. Zing.ha ah ha.
Norris: It just shows me that she did not prepare for this interview and she doesn’t have any experience to fall back on.
Harris: This is why I wanted to have you back on, the Lt Col Tom Norris retired, The Legend in the A-10 community.
Because I think a fraud is being perpetrated on, on, the nation. She appeared in FOX News in two articles yesterday and on Greta Van Susteren (Wednesday night) it is not a coincidence it’s not an accident it’s part of the design. But the nation does not get to choose whether or not she represents our district.
It’s the people here, we get to choose and I think they need to understand that what she’s shoveling out there in D.C. and what they are trying to foist upon us is fraudulent.
Check back on Monday for the rest of the interview, in which Norris reveals McSally’s MO: “It doesn’t matter how good a pilot I am. It doesn’t matter how good I execute close air support. What matters is getting me promoted.” To hear the interview, click here.