Category Archive 'A-10 Thunderbolt II'

07 Apr 2007

Call Sign: Killer Chick

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The Department of Defense has created a web site honoring heroes of the War on Terror.

Here is the story behind one Distinguished Flying Cross award.

The A-10 Warthog may be one of the slowest, ugliest planes in the Air Force, but it’s the best friend a soldier or Marine could have in a close fight. And it’s the last thing an enemy ever wants to see – especially if the pilot’s call sign stands for “Killer Chick.”

On April 7, 2003, then-Capt. Campbell and her flight lead responded to a call for air support in downtown Baghdad, where an elite unit of the Iraqi Republican Guard had U.S. forces pinned against the Tigris River. Campbell and her wingman faced bad weather before they dove out of the sky and devastated the enemy with rockets and the Warthog’s feared 30mm Gatling gun. After successfully hitting their targets, the pilots turned back toward base – and that’s when Campbell’s jet was rocked by a large explosion, and immediately began pulling to the left and toward the ground. With numerous caution lights flashing, the one that worried Campbell the most was the hydraulic lights. A quick check confirmed her suspicions: Her hydraulic system had been fried. She would later discover that one of her engines was badly damaged and the fuselage was riddled with hundreds of bullet holes.

Campbell quickly switched to manual reversion, allowing her to fly her Warthog under mechanical control.

She then had a decision: try to fly 300 miles back to base, or parachute into hostile territory. This was dicey terrain, so she decided she had to make the flight. Despite the heavily damaged aircraft and terrible weather – including massive dust storms – “Killer Chick” persevered. With the help of a seasoned pilot on her wing, Campbell landed safely back at base – fully prepared to take to the skies again and unleash the Warthog, as well as her moniker, on any opposing forces.

Major Campbell’s DFC award citation:

Captain Kim N. Campbell is awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism while participating in aerial flight as an A/OA-10 fighter pilot, 75th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, 332d Expeditionary Operations Group, 332d Air Expeditionary Wing at Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait on 7 April 2003. On that date, at North Baghdad Bridge, Iraq, flying as Yard 06, Captain Campbell’s professional skill and airmanship directly contributed to the successful close air support of ground forces from the 3d Infantry Division and recovery of an A-10 with heavy battle damage. While ingressing her original target area, Captain Campbell was diverted to a troops-in-contact situation where enemy forces had positioned themselves within 400 meters of the advancing friendly forces and were successfully preventing the lead elements of the 3d Infantry Division from crossing the North Baghdad Bridge. Unable to eliminate the enemy without severe losses, the ground forward air controller had requested immediate close air support. After a quick situation update and target area study, Captain Campbell expertly employed 2.75 inch high explosive rockets on the enemy position that had been threatening the advancing forces, scoring a direct hit and silencing the opposition. During her recovery from the weapons delivery pass, a surface-to-air missile impacted the tail of Captain Campbell’s aircraft. Immediately taking corrective action, she isolated the hydraulic systems and placed the A-10 into the manual reversion flight control mode of flight and prepared for the long and tenuous return flight to Kuwait. Captain Campbell’s aviation prowess and coolness under pressure directly contributed to the successful comletion of the critical mission and recovery of a valuable combat aircraft. The outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to duty displayed by Captain Campbell reflect great credit upon herself and the United States Air Force.

Air Force News story.


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