Several blogs are sharing a video that appears to have been produced by the Air Force showcasing the A-10’s role in close air support in Afghanistan – but has not been officially released. The video has been viewed almost 400,000 times on YouTube.
Tony Carr of the John Q. Public blog first posted the short film, which appears to have been shot by Combat Camera airmen.
Several months ago, I came to possess film footage depicting the exploits of an A-10 Fighter Squadron in Afghanistan during the fighting season of 2014. The story it renders, through interviews and first-person experiences on the battlefield, vividly illustrates the essential role of the A-10 Warthog, its community of pilots, and Joint Terminal Attack Controllers working together expertly to save the lives of ground troops engaged in close combat in the most dangerous place in the world.
Carr and bloggers at We Are the Mighty and Business Insider speculate that the Air Force is not releasing the video because the service wants to replace the A-10 with the F-35A, despite opposition from members of Congress.
It’s increasingly clear that regardless of patience, prodding, respect for process, and good faith efforts to have this video made public by the Air Force, the service is disinclined to claim responsibility for its production, much less publicly release it. The passage of enough time to ameliorate any reasonable concerns about releasability doesn’t seem to matter.
Equally unimportant to officials is the fact that (speculatively, since I can’t get it officially confirmed), a ComCam airman risked mortal danger to make this film and tell this story, getting immersed in a firefight along the way (you’ll see him drop his camera and hear him discharge his weapon in the video). The fact that taxpayers funded this project also appears inconsequential.
The video features many scenes of troops on the ground working closely with A-10 pilots, and it is clear that the camera operators are part of the military patrols.