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Once at risk of extinction, iconic Warthog plane lives on

The Warthog is sitting pretty. Once on the brink of forced retirement, the A-10 attack plane with the ungainly shape and odd nickname has been given new life, spared by Air Force leaders who have reversed the Obama administration’s view of the plane as an unaffordable extra in what had been a time of tight budgets. In the 2018 Pentagon budget plan sent to Congress this week, the Air Force proposed to keep all 283 A-10s flying for the foreseeable future.

Three years ago, the Pentagon proposed scrapping the fleet for what it estimated would be $3.5 billion in savings over five years. Congress said no. The following year, the military tried again but said the retirement would not be final until 2019. Congress again said no. Last year, officials backed away a bit further, indicating retirement was still the best option but that it could be put off until 2022.

Now the retirement push is over, and the Warthog’s future appears secure.

“The world has changed,” said Maj. Gen. James F. Martin Jr., the Air Force budget deputy, in explaining decisions to keep aircraft once deemed expendable. The Air Force has similarly dropped plans to retire the iconic U-2 spy plane amid prospects for bigger budgets under President Donald Trump. It also reflects the relentless pace of operations for combat aircraft and surveillance and reconnaissance planes that feed intelligence data to war commanders. The service had complained for years that its inventory of aircraft was getting dangerously small and old. Gen. Mark Welsh, who retired as the top Air Force officer last year, was fond of describing the service as having 12 fleets of aircraft that qualify for antique license plates in the state of Virginia.

The A-10 is a special case. Rep. Martha McSally, a Republican from Arizona who flew the A-10 in combat and commanded a squadron in Afghanistan, speaks of it with obvious affection.

“The A-10 is this badass airplane with a big gun on it,” she said she told Trump in a recent conversation, explaining why the Warthog is unlike any other attack aircraft. The “big gun” to which she refers is a seven-barrel Gatling gun that is nine feet long and fires 30mm armor-piercing shells at a rate of 3,900 rounds per minute. Also armed with Maverick missiles, the A-10 is effective not only in a conventional battle against tanks and other armored vehicles. It also provides close-air support for Iraqi and other U.S. partner forces taking on Islamic State fighters in the deserts of Iraq and Syria. A number of A-10s fly missions in Syria from Incirlik air base in Turkey.

McSally is among members of Congress for whom elimination of the Warthog carried political risks back home. Sen. John McCain, a fellow Arizona Republican, joined her in strenuously arguing against the plane’s early retirement. Arizona’s Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is home to an A-10 unit; retirement of the aircraft might have made Davis-Monthan more vulnerable to closure. A veteran of combat in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and beyond, the plane entered service in 1976. It is among Cold War-era icons like the venerable B-52 bomber that have exceeded expected lifespans and are likely to remain central to U.S. air campaigns for years to come.

Specially designed for the Cold War mission of attacking armor on the front lines of a potential European war with the Soviet Union, the A-10’s air crews considered it so ugly they called it the Warthog. Its official nickname is Thunderbolt II. The plane has been out of production since 1984 but has received many upgrades over the years, most recently with new electronics.

MDSP Officer Changes Lives

SPRINGFIELD Jackie Peters applied for a prison job just so someone would quit pestering her about it.

“I was living in Irene, and my stepson had a friend who was working (at Mike Durfee State Prison) in Springfield. He was always hounding me about getting a job there,” she said.

“I said, Are you kidding me? There s no way I was going to work in a prison, and there s no way they re going to hire me. I m 40 years old, a female, and they would have to hire me at first for a job at the Hill (state penitentiary in Sioux Falls). But I told him that I would try so he would get off my case.”

She was wrong about the outcome. She was hired in January 1993, working the cell areas and guard towers at the penitentiary. She had already shown her ability to break new ground when she joined the National Guard

“I believe I was I was the first woman to join the South Dakota National Guard,” she said. “They started accepting women Oct. 1, 1973, and I joined Oct. 13, 1973. I stayed in the Guard until 1987.”

When she was hired for the Sioux Falls prison job, Peters informed officials she would be interested in working at the medium-security facility in Springfield, closer to her hometown of Avon.

“They had an opening at Springfield, and I got a job there shortly after I started in Sioux Falls,” she said. “I m not sure, if I had stayed in Sioux Falls, if I would have remained (in corrections) that long.”

A quarter-century after she was hired, Peters will retire June 8 from a career that has seen her rise through the ranks. She now works as the MDSP tool-and-key control sergeant. A formally trained locksmith, she is entrusted with all the prison s keys, keeps them in good working condition and maintains a regular inventory.

She joined the MDSP staff in the early years after the former college was converted into a prison in 1984. She served there when the facility was co-ed and later converted to an all-male facility.

As part of that conversion, she helped with the start-up of the women s prison in Pierre. During the course of the special assignment, she found herself in the unlikely role of eating crab legs at then-Gov. Bill Janklow s mansion.

“Before the women s prison was built, I took female trustys to Pierre. They stayed at the National Guard Armory while they did community service work to see if they would fit (with the community),” Peters said. “We had them working at the Capitol and the governor s mansion. For one of their assignments, they served a meal at the governor s mansion. Gov. Janklow was hosting a very official dinner with crab legs on the menu.”

Peters remained in the kitchen area, supervising the inmates. A woman on the governor s staff invited Peters to sit down and join her for supper in another room while the dinner was under way.

“Here I was, eating crab legs in the governor s mansion,” Peters said with a laugh. “I wasn t eating with the governor, but he did talk to me later when the dinner was finished and the guests left.”


Peters would talk to Janklow other times in less pleasant surroundings. She transported inmate crews to assist with natural disasters, where the governor was directing operations with his trademark take-charge manner.

“We had inmates working after the tornados at Spencer and Oglala (in the late 1990s),” Peters said.

The two disaster scenes contained different sights and needs. Spencer, a small town located in eastern South Dakota, was nearly wiped off the map. Oglala, located on the reservation in western South Dakota, saw destruction spread over a wide area.

“When we stepped off the bus at Spencer, I just thought, Oh, my gosh! This used to be a town, ” Peters said. “And at Oglala, a number of people there lived in trailer homes, and tornados and trailer houses don t get along.”

The inmates did what they could to help victims recover lost personal items, Peters said. The prisoners picked up debris, sacked up what was salvageable and allowed residents to claim what remained.

In addition, Peters supervised female inmates trained in firefighting.

“I spent an entire summer in the Black Hills because of continuous forest fires. The women learned everything from chainsaw training to wearing protective gear,” she said. “As an incentive, the inmates normally received 25 cents an hour for their work, but if they worked as firefighters they received 38 cents an hour. That was like getting time-and-a-half pay.

“At the end of the year, if they had done firefighting and had no major disciplinary issues on their record, the governor would give them so many days off their sentence for working on disasters.”


In addition, Peters supervised female inmates who worked on the South Dakota State Fairgrounds in Huron. The one-year assignment in the 1990s saw her drive a busload of workers each week to Huron, where they stayed in the National Guard Armory.

“At first, the female inmates would look around and say, I don t know why they re bringing us up here, we don t know how to do any of this. But they learned it and did it, from repairing buildings, putting up new ones and cutting down trees,” Peters said.

“The guy that was in charge of the fairgrounds tracked day by day what the women accomplished. He also saw their attitude change, how they went from saying We can t do that to I can do that. He said it was probably the best the fairgrounds had ever looked up to that point, maybe because the women would add extra touches when they did things like plant flowers.”

The female inmates also received compliments from fairgoers on the grounds, which further boosted the prisoners confidence, Peters said.

In addition to her special assignments, Peters was one of the first members of the MDSP Disturbance Control Squad. which handles inmate uprisings.

“If there was ever a disturbance at the prison, we had a calling tree for contacting the members. You would suit up in your helmet and grab your shield and baton, if you needed to take any action against inmates who were being unruly and didn t listen,” she said.

“Eventually, I was commander of it. The squad was limited to people who offered to be on it. You applied, they determined if you were physically fit enough, and we had training once a month. I ve been sprayed with pepper spray and tear gas (as part of the training), but I was never tazered.”

The only major disturbance came during the “salad riot,” when MDSP inmates protested over the salad bar and other food service offerings.

“It was over in a day, a day and a half. It didn t take long,” she said. “The facility was surrounded by law enforcement and highway patrol, but they stayed on the outside while we were on the inside.”

In addition to her other duties, Peters maintains MDSP operations policies and has developed a record-keeping system for fire deployments, which lists 1,707 male and female inmates who have gone through firefighter training.

She has worked the entire gamut of corrections, from all men and all women to a co-ed prison to juveniles. The latter came while the State Training School operated in Plankinton.


Peters has seen the Springfield prison change tremendously over the years. Besides changing from a co-ed to all-male facility, the prison has added a barracks unit allowing the former population of 800 inmates to increase to around 1,250.

MDSP has sought to prepare inmates for the outside world and help them prevent a return to prison through vocational, academic, religious and cultural programs; counseling and substance abuse programs; and other innovations.

The prison has seen a major change outside its fences.

During its early history, MDSP had only the Missouri River to the south, cutting off one escape route for inmates. The Chief Standing Bear Memorial Bridge was built in the 1990s between Running Water and Niobrara, Neb., spanning the river and linking the two states.

Rather than think of the bridge as an escape route, MDSP has found it as a valuable link to a large pool of prison employees in northeast Nebraska, Peters said.

“The bridge has helped us immensely in terms of staff,” she said. “We have a lot of staff who come from Nebraska that we didn t have before the bridge, when they had to go around Yankton or Pickstown. Now, we have a lot of those Nebraskans as really good staff members.”

And it s those people both staff members and inmates that she will miss when she retires in just a few days.

“I surprised myself when I applied for that first job and got it. I thought, There was no way on God s green earth I was going to get it, ” she said. “But I got it, and I shocked myself. I enjoyed just about every aspect of it. I m going to really miss the people. The time has gone so fast, and I wouldn t trade it for the world.”

As she prepares to depart the prison, Peters hopes she helped others find a better path along the way.

“Now, I can look back and say, I did make a difference in someone s life,” she said.

Follow @RDockendorf on Twitter.

Minnesota Muslim released despite grenade, bomb materials found

Minnesota Muslim Released Despite Grenade, Bomb Materials Found

Suspects arrested May 11, 2017, in Minneapolis, allegedly with an arsenal in their car. The Manchester suicide bomber was reported to authorities repeatedly over a period of five years, as British citizens pointed out his radical activities. Nothing was done. It mirrors the script of previous jihadists who struck at San Bernardino, Orlando, Fort Hood, the Boston Marathon, London, Nice and many other places in the U.S. and Europe over the last three years.

We knew of this man, police said, but they were either unwilling or unable to monitor the suspect, let alone arrest him.

Now there are signs that two Muslim men in Minneapolis may be up to their eyeballs in jihadist activity.

WCCO-TV in Minneapolis reported[1] Thursday there is growing concern that the two brothers, 27-year-old Abdullah Alrifahe and 26-year-old Majid Alrifahe, may have been planning an attack. When they were arrested on May 11, police found an arsenal in their car a loaded AK-47, another rifle, a handgun, thousands of rounds of ammunition, a drone, a grenade and multiple electronic bomb-making devices.

Read WND s previous report on two Muslims arrested in Minneapolis with an arsenal in their car.[2]

One of the two brothers has already been released and the other remains in jail on a felony weapons charge, pending a $200,000 bond. An elderly man described as a Good Samaritan confronted the two men outside a government-subsidized, senior-citizens complex and asked them to stop throwing litter out of their car. The two men approached the Good Samaritan aggressively, called him the N word and scared him away. But the man then called police, who found the arsenal. The Good Samaritan, who refuses to give his name out of fear for his safety, is now expressing outrage that the charges aren t more serious.

Watch local TV report on growing concerns about Minneapolis brothers caught with arsenal in their car:

The two men could have been planning an attack or transporting the weapons to a larger stockpile somewhere else. Either way, it s imperative they remain in custody and undergo prolonged interrogation, law-enforcement sources told WND. Police should demand to know where the men got the weapons, where they were taking them and where they attended mosque while looking into their work, banking and travel history, says Phil Haney, a former Homeland Security officer and co-author of the book See Something, Say Nothing[3]. The men also should be asked what religious leaders have they studied under, both in person and online, who their contacts were and any other relevant information, he said.

These guys are connected to a coalition of at least 35 components of ISIS around the world. ISIS is not just in Syria and Iraq, it s a coalition of groups. It s a pledge of loyalty not to ISIS necessarily but the goals of ISIS, which is the establishment of Shariah law as part of the caliphate, Haney told WND.

Are these guys in Minnesota related to what we saw in Manchester? They sure are, because it s not so much that they know each other personally as it is that they are all part of the overall gravitational force of this global movement to establish Shariah law. That s the common denominator. The gravitational force that underpins all of it.

It s an Islamic invasion which could end our civilization and it s being enabled by the very people who are supposed to protect us. Discover the terrifying truth behind our culture s oldest enemy and unveil the darkest treason in the history of Western Civilization in Stealth Invasion: Muslim Conquest through Immigration and Resettlement Jihad. [4]

Clare Lopez, vice president of research and analysis for the Washington-based Center for Security Policy, said the incident in Minneapolis very well could indicate the tip of a very dangerous iceberg. Local law enforcement knows that the Minneapolis neighborhood of Cedar-Riverside already functions as a Somali enclave known as Little Mogadishu, where Shariah prevails, not U.S. constitutional law, or Minnesota law or Minneapolis municipal law.

It is, in effect, a no-go zone, where local police must be wary for their security if they enter in uniforms or police cruisers, Lopez said. It is a place that exports jihadist suicide bombers to Islamic terror groups like al-Shabaab and the Islamic State.

Now is the time to act. Police should use the arrests of the two jihadists as a pretext to go in and clean out the neighborhood, Lopez said.

If Cedar-Riverside is not to become a U.S. version of Muslim-controlled Molenbeek, Brussels, the Parisian banlieux, or Luton, U.K., the writ of U.S. constitutional law must be enforced, firmly and consistently, she said. To permit any alien hostile legal system such as Shariah to govern space within the U.S. is to cede American sovereignty. The Minneapolis Police Department, Hennepin County Sheriff s Department backed solidly by the Hennepin District Attorney have the responsibility to ensure that all Minneapolis residents are protected under the aegis of U.S. law, she said. The Cedar Riverside community is likely already harboring an Islamic cell, and police likely already have evidence of such. But the problem is political correctness, said Haney.

It s a network. A network is an established group of individuals that have been operating with resources for a significant amount of time with forethought, intention and planning, he said.

The government had these folks on its radar, people were seeing something and saying something. This was the U.K. s San Bernardino, because they knew about them, he added. People in San Bernardino were concerned, they saw things going on and thought about saying something but they were too afraid. The same thing happened in the U.K., only here they even reported it, and still their government didn t do anything.

Somebody did see something and said something, and nothing was done. The Manchester suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, was a son of refugees from Libya, and most of his family still resides in Libya. Like Farook in San Bernardino, he was a hafiz, meaning he d memorized the Quran. Being hafiz is a big deal in the Muslim community. Very few reach this level of Quranic learning.

How do you become hafiz? You have to go through the training in the local mosque or madrasa and get certified by the imam or whoever is in charge. There is a ceremony. It is not a small thing. You are way above an average Muslim person in the community, he said. So all this pretense, it s all just that. It s all deception.

Refugee issue must be solved

The other issue is unvetted and unvettable refugees continuing to pour into Europe. The same thing continues to go on in the U.S., with refugees arriving daily from dangerous countries that harbor jihadists Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Afghanistan. Libya, the home base of the Manchester bomber, is one of the countries in President Trump s executive order on visa travel and refugees that is being held up in the courts.

Therefore, Trump has been right all along and the people that oppose him, they re opposing the very efforts of the people in authority trying to protect us, Haney said. And if we don t do that we re going to have the same thing done that was done to the people in the U.K. They will turn around and blow up a building full of women and children. This is sick. Haney said the fear among Western leaders of being called an Islamophobe is greater than their fear of the next jihad attack.

Now that the Western world s politicians have seen the forces of the establishment unleashed on Trump because he dared to propose a temporary halt on Muslim immigration, they have been frightened into a corner. They cannot muster the courage to confront the root cause of all jihad attacks, Islam, even as they come under increasing pressure from restive and fearful populations.

And until that equation changes, everything else is secondary, Haney said. This will keep happening over and over until the mentality changes. That s what it comes down to. What are you more afraid of? Jihad against your own citizens or being called an Islamophobe by the Muslim groups and their friends in the media? Haney says FBI and other law enforcement must be willing to get inside of the Islamic mind to understand why they kill people Western society considers to be innocent. It often comes down to the Quranic concept that fitnah is worse than slaughter, he said.

The Arabic word fitnah means a persecution or an oppression perpetrated on the Muslim community. To the Islamic mind, the mere existence of non-believers who refuse to submit to the advancement of Islam can be viewed as a fitnah.

Blowing up little girls at a rock concert is not nearly as bad as the opposition to the advancement of Islam, or the goals of Islam, therefore they don t see that as a crime, he said.

See the various translations of Quran 2:191, which lays out the principle of fitnah.[5]

The restrainer has been removed

The final piece in the puzzle causing misery and death in the West is the Arab Spring. It was the policies of Bush and Obama that broke open key countries in the Middle East, starting with Iraq, drawing jihadists to the battlefield.

The Bible talks about the restrainer being removed, Haney observes. Saddam, Gadhafi, Assad these are dictators who were acting as restrainers and now they are removed and our own government set that in motion. We came, we saw, we killed. They killed Saddam, they killed Gadhafi, we ve tried to remove Assad.

They never looked at it in those countries as a democratic thing or the resurrection of democracy; they looked at it as an opportunity to resurrect the Arab nation, the ummah, and the implementation of Islamic law. That s exactly why the Muslim Brotherhood was founded. It s an Islamic revivalist movement led by the Arabs, which according to the Quran are the best of all people.

Minnesota Muslim Released Despite Grenade, Bomb Materials FoundClick here for reuse options![6]


  1. ^ WCCO-TV in Minneapolis reported (
  2. ^ Read WND s previous report on two Muslims arrested in Minneapolis with an arsenal in their car. (
  3. ^ See Something, Say Nothing (
  4. ^ It s an Islamic invasion which could end our civilization and it s being enabled by the very people who are supposed to protect us. Discover the terrifying truth behind our culture s oldest enemy and unveil the darkest treason in the history of Western Civilization in Stealth Invasion: Muslim Conquest through Immigration and Resettlement Jihad. (
  5. ^ See the various translations of Quran 2:191, which lays out the principle of fitnah. (
  6. ^ Main menu of all reuse options (