http://www.armytimes.com/story.php?f=0-ARMYPAPER-1852381.php Soldiers call in planes every day in Afghanistan By Bruce Rolfsen Times staff writer These are busy times for A-10 Thunderbolts in Afghanistan. As the Taliban steps up its insurgency, A-10s are being called on daily. Fighters from Bagram Air Base sometimes strike targets in southern and eastern Afghanistan on the same day. On May 29, A-10s came to the rescue of troops under fire by flying several strafing passes against Taliban fighters near Deh Rawood. That same day, the jets also flew missions near Asadabad, 350 miles north. The high demand for the A-10 is easy for Warthog crews to explain. âItâs the one that guys in the field want. Itâs the one that the enemy fears the most,â said Col. Warren âWardogâ Henderson, commander of the 23rd Fighter Group, the Flying Tigers, out of Pope Air Force Base, N.C. Since the spring of 2002, A-10s have been a steady presence at Bagram. Often, at least two A-10s are in flight for on-call close-air support missions, with more jets sitting alert on the Bagram flight line. Typically, the Air Force has about a squadronâs worth of A-10s and personnel on hand at Bagram serving a four-month deployment. However, the Air Force has, at times, doubled the number of jets there by delaying planes from deploying back to their home bases or by moving up arrival dates. In Iraq, during the spring of 2003, A-10s were the first U.S. fighters to be deployed to former Iraqi air force flight lines, taking up operations at Kirkuk Air Base and Ali Base. A-10s were the first fighters based inside Iraq and Afghanistan because the planes are designed to operate from beat-up runways. The A-10âs jet engines are mounted high enough that they arenât likely to suck in rocks and concrete, whereas the intake of an F-16 Flying Falconâs belly-mounted engine could act like a vacuum cleaner. As runway conditions improved in Iraq, the A-10s were replaced by F-16s. The F-16s can drop satellite-guided bombs, a capability A-10s lack.