The squadron was assigned to the 122d Fighter Group, Indiana Air National Guard and equipped with F-51D Mustang fighters. The squadron escorted troop carrier formations on D Day and the following day as the formations dropped paratroopers on the Cotentin purdy paint brush Peninsula. For the remainder of June, it attacked rail lines, troop concentrations, bridges and transport. The squadron moved to France in July and, from its base at Cretteville, took part in operations that resulted in the Allied breakthrough at St Lo.
Although the Air National Guard was not officially established as a separate service until 1946, some ANG units like the 122nd can trace their beginnings to the interwar period between 1918 and 1941. Following the First World War, the War Department recognized the necessity of including aviation in national defense. The Indiana National Guard began their flying mission in 1921 with the establishment of the 137th Observation Squadron, based initially at Fagley Field in Kokomojust north of Indianapolis, Indiana.
The following month, the squadron attacked enemy airfields near Munich and Ingolstadt, engaging aircraft and supporting the advance of ground forces in the area, earning a third award of the Distinguished Unit Citation. The squadron was also awarded the French Croix de Guerre with Palm by the Government of France for its assistance in the liberation of France. The squadron was credited with the destruction of 27 enemy aircraft during the war.
We have a long history with fighter aircraft from the P47s in the 40s to the F4 in the 80s to the F-16s in the 90s and the A-10 presently,” Metzger said. The word ‘Marksmen’ somehow reflected an aggressive undertone which some found offensive. Although this wasn’t the case at all, the squadron decided to change its name into ‘Blacksnakes’. The mission of the 7122d was to support Seventeenth Air Force and various NATO exercises in Europe, flying up to 30 sorties a day exercising with Seventh Army units in West Germany. NATO exchanges with the West German 32d Fighter-Bomber Wing occurred in April 1962 to increase understanding of NATO air integration and terminology.
The A-10 was designed around the 30 mm GAU-8 Avenger rotary cannon that is its primary armament. Its airframe was designed for durability, with measures such as 1,200 pounds of titanium armor to protect the cockpit and aircraft systems, enabling it to absorb a significant amount of damage and continue flying. Its short takeoff and landing capability permits operation from airstrips close to the front lines, and its simple design enables maintenance with minimal facilities. The A-10 served in Operation Desert Shield, and Operation Desert Storm, the American intervention against Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, where the A-10 distinguished itself. The A-10 also participated in other conflicts such as Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada, the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, and against the Islamic State in the middle east.