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ANG paint facility paints P-47 scheme on Thunderbolt II

  • Published
  • By Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot
  • 185th Air Refueling Wing

Sioux City, Iowa -- A heritage paint scheme on a U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II from the Idaho Air National Guard was revealed this week at the National Guard paint facility in Sioux City, Iowa. The historical paint scheme was designed as a tribute to the Thunderbolt’s World War II predecessor.

The design on the A-10 was conceived by the 124th Fighter Wing of the Idaho ANG in order to celebrate the unit’s 75th anniversary and their lineage to the WWII era 405th Fighter Squadron.

Following the 2nd World War many active flying units remained in service but were renumbered as they were reassigned to units of the National Guard.  National Guard units were authorized to receive equipment, pilots, aircraft maintainers and support personal as they were being moved back to the United Sates.

The 124th Fighter Wing was one of dozens of Air Guard units that can trace their lineage directly to their WWII predecessor, in this case the 405th Fighter Squadron. The heritage scheme on the Idaho Air Guard A-10 is designed to replicate the paint as it appeared on the original P-47 Thunderbolt of the 405th while the unit was based in Western France in 1944.

The paint gets down to the details with a white nose, WWII era U.S. Air Force roundels on the fuselage and wing, along with D-Day Invasion stripes all painted over an olive drab base coat. The “8N” painted on the side of the aircraft indicates the aircraft code of the 405th Fighter Squadron.

It is not just the unit but the aircraft that also share a common linage. The original Thunderbolt was manufactured by Republic Aviation during World War II as a multi-role air to air and ground attack aircraft. After the war the P-47 remained in service in the U.S. Air National Guard through the early 1950’s where it was used as a cost saving way to train aircrew. During the war the British Royal Air Force adapted their P-47D aircraft to be used primarily as a ground attack aircraft, similar to the mission of the A-10 today.

The younger sibling of the P-47, the A-10 Thunderbolt II was manufactured by Fairchild Republic and designed specifically for close air support. With its heavy 30mm rotary cannon it is commonly known the tank killer.

The 340th heritage paint scheme on the A-10 is one of several similar heritage schemes that have been painted by the ANG paint facility in the past several years. Units of the Air Force and Air National Guard can get permission to temporarily paint non-standard markings on aircraft as part of unit heritage and moral.