Lieutenant Colonel Kim Campbell, A-10 "Warthog" attack pilot, Air Force: Sustained fire over the Tigris River in Baghdad on April 7, 2003. "On my last pass, as I was coming off target, I felt and heard a large explosion at the back of the aircraft. I completely lost hydraulics. My initial thought was, "If I eject and come down in a parachute right in the middle of the Iraqi Republican Guard, it probably won't go so well for me." Also, allowing that aircraft to crash in the ground just wasn't something that I wanted to do.
So I really only had one option. It's called manual reversion. It's our backup system, and it allows us to fly the jet using just cranks and cables. We'd practiced it—once—during our initial training. I flipped the switch, and my jet started climbing out and away from Baghdad. But the jet isn't designed to land in manual reversion. In Desert Storm, I knew, there had been three manual-reversion landings attempted. In one, the pilot was killed. In another, the jet was destroyed and the pilot was lucky to survive. In the third, the pilot had successfully landed. My gut told me I could land the airplane, and that's what I chose to do.
We have 300 miles to go from Baghdad back to Kuwait, and it's the longest hour of my life. As I got near the runway, the aircraft started to turn over, but I was able to counteract the roll; it was probably the best landing I've ever done. Voices came over the radio: "Welcome home!" "Great job!" All the pilots in my squadron went out to the runway to watch me land. The airplane had so many holes that it never flew again." #americanveterans #veterans #usveterans #usmilitary #usarmy #supportveterans #honorvets #usvets #america #usa #patriot #uspatriot #americanpatriot #supportourtroops #godblessourtroops #ustroops #americantroops #semperfi #military #remembereveryonedeployed #deplorables #deployed #starsandstripes #americanflag #usflag #respecttheflag #marines #navy #airforce