Where's the Beef?

Here is a story that flight crews, animal lovers, and BBQ aficionados might enjoy.  A few years ago, in August of 2017, a lone Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II was sighted with a most unusual marking on its side…a cow.
A victory marking, or kill mark is a symbol applied in stencil or decal to the side of an aircraft to denote an aerial victory achieved by the aircraft's pilot or crew. A tradition that originated during World War I, and would usually be seen in the form of a national flag, roundel or a silhouette of the air or ground vehicle defeated, which in this case, was a cow?
The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II, single-seat, twin turbofan, straight wing jet known as the "Warthog" or “Hog” is always a welcome sight to friendly forces on the ground, and less so, to her enemies. Designed with one mission, close air support (CAS) of ground troops, and the well proven proclivity for removing the threat of enemy armoured vehicles and tanks, by providing quick-action support against enemy ground forces. The Warthog is both feared, and loved for very good reason.
To carry out her assigned mission, the Hog's primary weapon is the 30mm GAU-8/A Avenger autocannon which possesses the ability fo dispense 3,900 rounds per minute (65 rounds per second) of depleted uranium armour-piercing shells. A cannon is so large, that the rest of the airframe had to be basically designed around the cannon.
The Thunderbolt became a welcome sight to friendly forces on the ground, and a literal nightmare to her enemies. Designed with one mission, close air support (CAS) of friendly ground troops, while removing the threat of enemy armoured vehicles and tanks, by providing quick-action support against enemy ground forces, and the ability to remain on station for long periods of time. The Warthog was the only production-built aircraft that has served in the USAF that was designed solely for the purpose of CAS, and it delivered as requested without fail.
Titanium plating on various parts of the aircraft allowed her to withstand direct hits from armor-piercing and high-explosive projectiles up to 23 mm in size, while placing the pilot in a literal armor “bathtub" made up of titanium with thicknesses from 0.5 to 1.5 inches, and a canopy resistant to small arms fire.
Her continual exposure to enemy fire at low altitude meant that she would take a beating, and the A-10 could amazingly suffer a loss of 50% of a wing structure, half of the tail surface, a single elevator, and one functioning engine, and still remain capable of flight, and bring her crew home.
This particular Warthog S/N 81-994 was seen at the 100th anniversary of the 107th Fighter Squadron (107FS) also known as the "RED Devils” of the Air National Guard 127th Wing assigned to Selfridge Air National Guard Base(ANGB), Michigan.   According to unsubstantiated and vague internet sources, the story behind the cow marking starts with a CAS mission over Afghanistan by an unnamed pilot, whom was utilizing his GAU-8/A Avenger Cannon in an undisclosed location in the pursuit of establishing and maintaining international relations.
After the A-10 had completed its mission and cleared the area, the ground troops moved in, it is said that a solitary cajun cooked depleted uranium seasoned cow was discovered, that had most unfortunately suffered from a rapid kinetic disassembly unknowingly delivered by the A-10 Warthog as it provided its support. Thusly, explaining the appearance of a victory marking in the form of a cow adorning the side of a Warthog.
For more BBQ tips, please contact the 107th FS. As far as the story behind the marking, all we have are some unsubstantiated rumours, and an uncredited image, so if anyone has more info on the story behind the story….we would love to hear from you, but for now we wish you a happy BBQing season!



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  • Dick Mason

    While serving as a Navy Advanced Training instructor operating TA-4s out of Beeville, Texas in 1975, my specialty was air-to-ground delivery training for guns, rockets and Mk76 practice bombs. One of my students while pulling 4-5 G’s coming off his rocket attack accidentally pulled the trigger and fired a practice round 2.75" rocket upward and off into the western Texas ranchland. Oops. The station helo found the impact site and a very dead branded steer. Of course, the rancher claimed it was his very expensive award-winning prize steer when he filed a claim …

  • Bob Pfeiffer

    My father flew P-47’s in WWII. He crash landed on a training flight and landed on a farm, killing two grazing cows. When he returned to flying, his buddies had painted two cows on his plane.

  • ted hall

    The COW came from me, the heifermyster, living in Vermont. I was selling the COWS to adorn the paners of BMW motorcycles. I have had in the past 3 different sizes and 7 different colors. I gave a pilot the yellow COW at a rally out west several years ago. He said he would put it on his plane. I thought he was a helo pilot, I was wrong. Very kool! That Hog it prodected for life. May the COW be with you

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