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Once a Tiger Always a Tiger
by Roy Grinnell
|There were dozens of anti-tank sorties during Desert Storm, but on the morning of February 25, one in particular stood out that was flown by a pair of A-10A pilots who set a record of sorts. A large column of Iraqi tanks was rolling south from areas occupied by the Republican Guard. Captain Eric Solomonson "Fish" and Lieutenant John Marks "Karl" of the 76th TFS/23rd TFW scrambled to engage them.
Solomonson arrived over Iraq at sunrise. Solomonson and Marks, after considerable action already, were surprised to see no anti-aircraft fire coming at them. A haze shrouded the target area where some Iraqi tanks were smoldering from earlier attacks.
The pilots swooped through the haze and attacked the tanks. The maverick missiles which detect and home on heat sources, had unusually rich targets with the tank engines running and extremely hot. It took 10 minutes for the pair to kill six tanks with Mavericks. Two more tanks were destroyed under the force of their 30-mm GAU-9/A seven barreled cannon.
The two A-10's returned to the FOL, (Forward Operating Location) where they were told to saddle up again. Marines needed help just southwest of Kuwait City. A Marine F-18 Hornet flying 'Fast FAC' told the approaching A-10 pilots that two AV-88 Harriers had already been hit. The FAC told them to continue on in because the Americans on the ground needed help immediately. In a fast and furious engagement, Solomonson and Marks took out eight more tanks, six with Mavericks and two with cannon fire. Returning to base, they rearmed and launched again to support Marines who were now probing at the outskirts of Kuwait City. The A-10's entered another target area and set seven more tanks afire. At their base, there was great celebration on their return. Marks stated, "They said we set an
all-time record for Maverick and cannon kills. 23 tanks in one day, ain't bad at all."
|Edition size: 100||Available in the following formats||Signed by the artist|
|Giclée on paper or canvas||12" x 18"||$175|
|Giclée on paper or canvas||16" x 24"||$265|
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|Giclée on paper or canvas||30" x 44"||$550|