Several months ago, an inquisitive Redditor posted this query: “Hey infantry, what do you do all day?” The question elicited dozens of responses ranging from honest reflections on life in the infantry to laundry lists of common complaints that included timeless favorites like, “So much fucking cleaning,” and “Getting fucked with.” But then, in one beautiful masterstroke, a commenter writing under the handle 11A2011 stole the show. Instead of complaining about the infantry, 11A2011 did the opposite, describing the tedium of garrison life in utopian terms, as one could imagine it plays out in the mind of, say, a three-star who hasn’t experienced a pointless ass-chewing or cleaned a rifle since Desert Storm.
I admit it, as a former infantryman, I’m a partial to the A-10 Thunderbolt II. I don’t mind that it’s ugly. I don’t mind that it entered service all the way back in the mid 1970s, making it older than me. I don’t mind that it’s slow, basically a flying 30 mm cannon sheathed in a 1,200-pound titanium “bathtub.” In fact, these are exactly the things that endear the A-10 to grunts like me. It’s our plane. It was made for us and us alone.