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Pope AFB Gets Ready For Possible Combat

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POPE AFB — Not knowing what to expect from the war on terrorism has to be the most difficult part for military families. The wait is tough. But some of the preparations leading up to a deployment are even tougher.

Pope AFB received a deployment order last week. There are no new deployment orders yet, but airmen are training as if one is on the way.

Airmen loaded missiles and added external fuel tanks to A-10s Wednesday in a deployment exercise not done every day at Pope AFB.

The A-10s are ready to fly into action if they are called upon. They are versatile and can be used for close air support, combat search-and-rescue, attacking radar sites, and for interdiction roles. They are fighters armed to the teeth.

"As I like to tell people, the A-10 may not be cutting edge technology, but it is cutting edge air power. The airplane has a varied ordinance load capacity," Col. Paul Johnson, commander, 75th Fighter Squadron said.

While crews prepare the flightline, others prepare their wills and powers-of-attorney.

"I think after watching the news the last couple of weeks, most of our folks are coming to grips with their mortality and the very serious nature of their legal affairs," Maj. Sarah Sullivan, Air Force attorney said.

"We want our families to be taken care of and we don't want to have to worry about this stuff while we're gone. We want to stay focused on what we have to do," Capt. Ernest Wearren said.

Pope AFB and Fort Bragg are still on a heightened state of alert. All the building names are currently covered up so that no particular building can become a target.


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