Certain Victory: A-10 pilots persevere through COVID-19

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Greg Nash
  • 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The will to win has been an unmatched factor for one squadron since their early World War II days. Whether flying over the Himalayan mountains into the foothills of China in the 1940’s, or staying mission ready today as the Korean Peninsula’s premier close air support fighter squadron, the 25th Fighter Squadron ‘Assam Draggins’ carry on a legacy that epitomizes their Korean motto, ‘Pil Sung’ – Certain Victory.

Now, the Sons of Pil Sung look to add another victory in the win column as they persevere amid the COVID-19 global pandemic. Although COVID-19 mitigation measures have impacted many things, it has not stopped the 25th FS from being ready to “Fight Tonight.”

“The ‘always ready’ mindset reminds us that no matter what is going on, we must always be ready to perform our job and ‘Attack!’” said 1st Lt. Matthew Dorsey, 25th FS pilot. “It also emphasizes the importance of following the applicable mitigation measures to ensure that we keep ourselves healthy, and everyone we come in contact with is safe.”

“The biggest reward of our sustained operations through COVID-19 has been taking the A-10’s to the Pil Sung range and shooting the gun,” Dorsey added. “There isn’t a better sound than hearing the A-10 cannon’s ‘Brrrrrtttttt’ after you spent all weekend social distancing. The professionalism and expertise in the squadron has sustained our operations and allowed us to be flexible, as flexibility is the key to airpower.”

This flexibility has been key as the unit has balanced risk mitigation while maintaining Osan’s ‘Fight Tonight’ attitude – but with a unique twist. On top of strictly following all United States Forces-Korea and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 guidance, the squadron and supporting personnel now greet each other with elbow bumps and encourage 25 ‘Pil Sung’ second hand-washing techniques.

Within the Draggins, finding ways to insert the squadron's numbers, 25, into normal conversation and activities is considered a demonstration of witty intelligence. Failure to use them in any circumstance is lightheartedly considered poor form.

Whether huddling during weather briefs, stepping to their jets or strafing over the Pil Sung Range, the Draggins never miss an opportunity to sustain their identity, vision, and commitment toward continually claiming certain victory.