A-10 pilots 'Hawg' the range

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Sivan Veazie
  • 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The 355th Fighter Wing hosted 14 A-10 Thunderbolt II teams from around the world for Hawgsmoke, July 9-12.

The winner of the 2014 Hawgsmoke competition was the 47th Fighter Squadron, an Air Force Reserve Command unit based at Davis-Mothan Air Force Base, Arizona and under the operational control of the 924th Fighter Group.

"Usually Hawgsmoke itself takes place over two days and includes team and individual scoring of strafing, high-altitude dive bombing, 30-degree dive bombing, Maverick missile precision, and team tactics," said Maj. Kyle Lanto, a 355th Training Squadron pilot instructor. "But this year's competition focused more on forward firing."

Hawgsmoke is a biennial worldwide A-10 bombing, missile and tactical gunnery competition, which was derived from the discontinued "Gunsmoke" Air Force Worldwide Gunnery Competition. This competition is an opportunity for camaraderie, fellowship of the world's premier close air support fighter, and a legacy of its pilots and support crews.

Traditionally, the winning team is honored by hosting the next competition. Since the 357th FS here finished in first place in 2012, Davis-Monthan AFB was selected to host the 2014 Hawgsmoke competition.

"The traditional home of the 'Hog' here at (Davis-Monthan AFB) has really been blessed to host Hawgsmoke this year," said Col. Kevin Blanchard, the 355th FW commander.

The competition was kicked off by a remembrance ceremony in honor of fallen A-10 pilots. After reading the name of the lost aviators, a customary shot of whiskey was taken and the emptied glasses smashed in a fire pit.

The next day, it was time for the pilots to gear up and show the judges what they were made of.

Before the competition started, pre-positioned cameras and acoustic panels were set up to accurately calculate each pilots score. Each pilot was given the same amount of ammunition and was scored on their execution of A-10 maneuvers, as well as their accuracy with the high, medium and low-angle strafes.

The competition was at the Barry M. Goldwater Range II and range staff members served as the competition judges.