Meger scrubbed A-10, CAS gap for “brevity”

In March, the Straus Military Reform Project and the Center for Defense Information revealed that the Commander of the 355th Fighter Wing, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Col. James P. Meger “sanitized presentation to the Air Force Chief of Staff, Army Chief of Staff, UMCS Chief of Staff, and the Navy Chief of Staff.

On Thursday, April 10, Lt. Erin Ranaweera, Public Affairs Chief, for the 355th Fighter Wing at Davis Monthan, confirmed that Meger scrubbed the slides but denied that it was part of Operation Destroy CAS. Ranaweera claimed that Meger removed the critical bullet points for “brevity.” Purely by coincidence, this was the only bullet addressing the devastating CAS capability gap created by divesting the A-10.

According to the Straus Military Reform Project’s article, Running for Cover: A Sham Air Force Summit Can’t Fix the Close Air Support Gap Created by Dumping the A-10, Meger, delivered a “sanitized presentation to the Air Force Chief of Staff,” which failed to mention “the 10- to 12-year estimated capability gap” should the a-10 be mothballed, “nor was there any mention whatsoever of the need to maintain legacy aircraft—such as the A-10 or less capable alternatives like the F-16 or F-15E—until the F-35A reached FOC.”

“I think it’s a disservice to the stated goals of the Summit to gloss over the operational risks and capability gaps created by A-10 divestment to try to save time. The risks created by divestment should have been a priority and the heart of the presentation,” said Mandy Smithberger, director of the Straus Military Reform Project, in response to Ranaweera’s confirmation.

According to Ranaweera, Meger is now on TDY for five weeks. Contrary to that claim, Meger is on the DM flying schedule twice the week of April 19.

“The key point omitted by Meger is what many of us have been arguing all along — that the Air Force is creating a critical gap in warfighting capability that will cost lives on the ground and leave our nation inadequately defended as a result,” said retired USAF pilot and publisher of the popular military website, John Q. Public, Tony Carr.

“When you put this together with the Maj. Gen. Post debacle, it seems to me General Welsh should be asking himself what kind of climate he has created with the A-10 issue. This shows that his commanders are afraid to tell him the truth when it doesn’t align with his known positions. Not only does systemic corruption like this cost the Air Force credibility with Congress, it is a dangerous way to run an agency charged with keeping our country safe. It hides risk,” concluded Carr.

According to sources close to the CAS Summit, Meger pulled the ultimate “bait and switch.” Working group members were skeptical that careerist Meger would tell the Commander of Air Combat Command (COMACC, Gen Carlisle) the truth at the Tucson session. When Meger did tell the truth to Gen Carlisle, they thought Meger would carry their message to the Chiefs of Staff. Not only did Meger, in coordination with Lt. Gen. Wolters (HAF/A3), sanitize the slides but also put the briefing in a completely different context than intended by the warfighters in Tucson. By removing the “10-12 year capability gap by divesting the A-10…” his message now implied the USAF efforts would completely mitigate the risk. It has been said “adversity does not build character but reveals it.”

The JTAC and Attack community feels betrayed by Meger, Lt. Gen. Wolters, and Gen. Carlisle.

CAS Summit Planning Presentation

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17 Comments

  1. It’s a shame that in threads such as these, facts are disputed, careers are diminished and other poeple’s opinions are considered unimportant and most times insignificant, if not wrong. As a retired fighter pilot, I know a little about the environment and the business. Readdress of what anyone flies and when they fly it and who who they flew with, the fact remains that most are very loyal to their machines, be they A-10, F-16, F-15, etc. So the rancor that accompanies the flyingdiscussion is really unimportant. But what IS important is the nature and culture of the current USAF. Promotion is everything, up or out, everyone is always looking to do whatever it takes to get promoted. In most cases that means extra duties, volunteering for unwanted details, military education, advanced degrees and so forth – all admirable. But when one gets eagle on their shoulders, integrity seems to take a back seat, “whatever-it-takes” becomes the motto – and eyes that once, more saw the beauty in the “long delirious burning blue” now can only see little silver stars.

  2. Scanner – spoken like a true Eagle guy or is it the LGPOS? Either way, community not relevant due to self serving agendas. I hope the payoff, on the backs of our troops, is worth it.

  3. The Air Force lacks integrity at many levels. Our senior leaders won’t acknowledge their plans create a capability gap, because it is all about politics and careers. Maybe if they were the ones sitting on The OP, integrity would matter.

  4. toby-enlighten us about your experiences and apparently you know Meger and his assignments … Show us your books as you mention to George

  5. Ya know, he may be a great guy, a A10 hero and all that BUT, yes there is always one, as the current WING COMMANDER he did not stand up for his TROOPS! He boot licked as he was told to do and did not stand his ground. Guess he knows where the grass is greener. I had commanders that stood up for what they thought was right, they would defend their people and they respected those that also did. This guy is looking to move up with the big boys if he was trying to ‘save time’! That is what is BS.

    No he is another of the so called ‘leaders’ that forgot what it was to be a Junior Officer, or one close to the worker bee’s. All the services have these guys and they think they never had to be a 2lt or a nco or anything. They were always gods gift to aviation, and so it goes on and on.

  6. Nellis – spoken like someone who has never been shot at. While preparing for tomorrow’s fight is important, you cannot put my son at risk by divesting the best CAS platform in the world. Mark – please enlighten us about your time in combat….and George – Meger is also the guy who requested to leave the A-10 and was denied, so I would also recommend you get in the books.

  7. But Commander Meger is such a good man! You have it all wrong and don’t understand why he has to do what he has to do! The A-10 is gone!Grow up and get over it and leave the commander alone!

  8. Ah the beauty of the Internet, where whatever one reads is instantly 100% truth, no questions asked. There’s always three sides to the story, and as of now the ADI has presented one of them. I’m willing to bet that the majority of people who read this article won’t even try to learn the other two. As a career F-15 guy, I don’t have the credentials to enter this fray. But I will say this about Col Meger, he is one of the best officers I’ve ever served with. And here’s the funny thing, he’s actually a career A-10 guy that happened to do two tours in Eagles after 3 tours in the Hawg! I recommend that the ADI does better research next time, it’s not that difficult to find a bio for a WG/CC. Perhaps they can start with how he earned his multiple DFCs. Then maybe they’ll realize that if the masses are disappointed, it’s because Meegs is probably the most decorated A-10 pilot currently serving in the Air Force. And as such his opinion should probably carry the most weight.

    • The Eagle community must be a little different than the A-10 community. We don’t refer to a guy that left the community by choice as a junior captain and comes back as a vice wing commander a career A-10 guy. Especially when he spent at least 3 of those years trying to get to any other airplane that would take him. Nor are the heroes of our community those that wrote themselves up for multiple DFCs in Allied Force. Avoiding getting hit by unguided SAMs and poorly airmed AAA while killing a cardboard tank really is not DFC worthy. Not a single American life was saved in Kosovo.

      He may have been a great officer when you flew Eagles with him, but he is not a career A-10 pilot. Nor is he the most decorated A-10 pilot. We still have Silver Star and Air Force Cross recipients on active duty.

      It is honorable that you are standing up for your friend, but try to avoid insulting a whole community in the process.

  9. How about doing away with the Air Force and putting it back to Army Air Force like it was originally. More attention might be paid to men fighting on the ground instead of flying high and fast. Just a thought.

  10. well if you didn’t know power point presentations are for those that DO NOT know what they are talking about and they are easy to make into whatever you want them to be. To be promoted in any service anymore you need to be PP guru supposedly. Thats why many do not pay attention to these people, but they are doing what it takes to get into suck up position to be noticed. Also note this guy was a f15 type, you know the guys with the silk scarves on all the time! Landed at Vance AFB one day for fuel and a 2lt with his scarf and all came strolling out to his ‘bird’ to return to the wash dc area. What a joke. So just suck up enough iterations and you will be put where the good ol boys want ya to be to do do their bidding. The A10 guys are kinda like the old AH-1 gun bunnies, but are now closer to the AH64 guys who want to look and act pretty. So guess this is a perfect setup for a f15 guy to pose and look good for his commander!

  11. The slide indicates Col Meger had an hour for his portion of the briefing so he had to delete the risk for “brevity”? The USAF cannot even develop a good lie….

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