Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican from Red Oak, joined colleagues from the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday in calling for the Air Force to delay plans to take the A-10 Warthog out of service.
Fellow Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire led the news conference that included Ernst and says the Air Force has given conflicting stories about why it wants to retire the A-10.
Ernst, a member of the Iowa National Guard who has served in Iraq, says the plane is a key support tool for troops on the ground. “My colleagues and I are not here today to fight for a piece of equipment, what we are doing today is fighting for the very lives of our men and women that are serving on the ground in these dangerous areas,” Ernst says. The Air Force says
newer planes can do the job of the A-10, but Ernst and the other senators disagree.
“I have heard over and over and over again from many colleagues that they would not be here today, with us, if it weren’t for the A-10,” Ernst says. “We do not have a comparable platform at this time. And bottom line again, we’re not fighting for a piece of equipment, we’re fighting for the lives of our American men and women.”
Ernst was asked about the need to modernize the equipment used by the military. She says is interested in modernizing the equipment, but that’s not needed in the case of the A-10.
“Like many folks will say ‘if it ain’t broke, why fix it?’ We have a platform that works and is relied upon by so many of our fighters on the ground. So, if it’s working, it’s something we need to support,” according to Ernst. Ernst and others say the A-10 is key in the fight against ISIS.
Arizona Senator John McCain, the chair of the committee, also spoke at the news conference.