'Troops In Contact' is a small joint organization of American Veterans working to ensure our troops have the best CAS possible when they fight for our nation. We have experienced CAS from the air and ground perspective while fighting in Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria and were able to help stop similar cuts from 2014-2022. We have zero financial interests in this effort.
Our Objectives are simple:
1. Ensure the Air Force maintains 281 A-10s until a better replacement can be fielded,
2. Stop the Air Force from cutting 50% of the Tactical Air Control Party Specialists (TACPs/ Air to Ground integrators),
3. Build a joint organization that advocates for Close Air Support,
1. Ground Troops get this. Americans get this.
2. Your support will give us the ammunition we need to meet with members of Congress.
3. We'll show Congress why the Air Force plan to kill CAS to pay for expensive fragile fighters is unnecessary and wrong.
4. We'll ask Congress to prevent the planned CAS cuts in the FY24 NDAA (objectives #1 and 2 above).
CW5 Ken Jones (USA Ret)
CW5 Ken Jones retired from the Army after 35 years of Army service. Ken served 11 years on Active Duty as an officer, starting on M-60 tanks and ending as an AH-64 Company Commander. He then served an additional 24 years in the Utah National Guard as an AH-64 standards instructor pilot and accrued over 14,000 hours flying the AH-64, AH-1, and small civilian airplanes / helicopters. He holds the world record of 10,300 hours in the AH-64 Apache of which 2,270 were in combat. Ken’s 3 combat tours in Afghanistan were with the 82nd Airborne Division, 101st Airborne Division, 10th Mountain Division, and the 25th Infantry Division earning the Legion of Merit, 3 Bronze Stars, 4 Air Medals (1 with Valor). His combat time was spent providing nightly direct support to U.S. and NATO Tier 1 Special Operators (Delta Force / Seals / British SAS) and Task Force 160th SOAR, participating in deliberate operation combat missions and QRF (Quick Reaction Force) missions. Ken currently resides in Utah and does back country flying in his free time.
Col Mike Stock (USAF Ret)
Colonel Mike “Balz” Stock retired from the United States Air Force after 21+ years of service. Mike served as a fighter pilot, senior military leader, and commanded at multiple levels. He served in combat flying the A-10 Warthog in the 354th, 103rd, and 75th Fighter Squadrons in Afghanistan. His combat time was spent providing close air support of both conventional ground and special operations forces earning both the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor and the USAF Anthony C. Shine Fighter Pilot Award in 2010 for character, professionalism, and tactical proficiency. Currently, Mike is a business leader, a professional pilot, and an adjunct professor teaching courses in both leadership and business. He currently resides in Texas.
Col Heyward Hutson III (USA Ret)
Heyward G. Hutson III commissioned into the Field Artillery in 1990 upon graduation from the United States Military Academy at West Point. COL Hutson served in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), the 10th Mountain Division, the Joint Readiness Training Center, the 2nd Infantry Division, and the Joint Center for Operational Analysis (United States Joint Forces Command) before commanding the 2nd battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment where he deployed the battalion to Baghdad, Iraq as a maneuver task force partnered with an Iraqi Federal Police brigade.
Following battalion command, COL Hutson served as a National Security Fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. COL Hutson then served as the Chief of Joint and Lethal Fires for USARCENT / Third Army before assuming command of the 212th Fires Brigade with the 1st Armored Division. During command, COL Hutson converted the brigade into the Army’s first Division Artillery (DIVARTY) serving his final year in command as the 1st Armored Division’s DIVARTY commander. COL Hutson served his last three years in the Army as the Assistant Commandant of the Field Artillery branch at Fort Sill, OK before retiring on 1 September 2018.
COL Hutson earned a bachelor’s of science degree from West Point and a master’s degree in Education from Northwestern State University. He is a graduate of the Field Artillery officer basic and advanced courses, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the Joint and Combined Warfighting School, and the U.S. Army War College.
COL Hutson’s awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit (3), the Bronze Star Medal (2), the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (5), the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal (2), the Joint Service Achievement Medal (2), the Army Achievement Medal (10), the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, numerous campaign and service medals, the Ranger Tab, the Parachutists Badge, the Pathfinder Badge, the Air Assault Badge, and the Combat Action Badge.
Over his career, COL Hutson actively participated as a volunteer in the numerous communities where he resided earning many state and local commendations. COL Hutson served as an EMT-III (Paramedic) for the Sackets Harbor Volunteer Fire Department (SHVFD), a firefighter for the SHVFD, 18 years as a Rescue Diver and Dive Team Captain for the Jefferson County, NY Special Tactics and Rescue Team (STAR Team), and a Rescue Diver for the Lee’s Summit Dive Rescue Team in Kansas City, Kansas. Most recently, COL Hutson certified as a South Carolina State Constable and served with the Sumter, South Carolina Sheriffs’ Department.
Lt Col Joe Andrews (USAF Ret)
Lt. Col. Joe Andrews retired from the United States Air Force after 20 years of service. Joe amassed over 3300 hours of single-seat attack time flying the A/OA-10A and the RAF Harrier. Lt. Col. Andrews was a Distinguished Graduate from the USAF Fighter Weapons Instructor Course in 1987. In 1989, he returned to the Fighter Weapons School as an instructor for 3 years before leaving for an exchange tour with the RAF. His assignments over 20 years include tours in Alaska, the U.K., Korea, and multiple deployments to the Middle East. Joe was the Operations Officer in the 354th "Bulldogs", and the Squadron Commander of the 357th "Dragons". He was awarded the Air Medal for combat missions flown in Operations "Provide Comfort" and "Southern Watch" over Iraq. Joe is retired from a 21 year career with a major cargo airline, and resides in south Alabama.