Thursday, October 23, 2008

Idaho Air Guard pilots smoke the field in an A-10 "Hawgsmoke" competition

Katy Moeller - Idaho Statesman
Edition Date: 10/22/08

A team of four pilots from the Idaho Air National Guard's 190th Fighter Squadron took top honors last week in the biennial "Hawgsmoke" competition, earning bragging rights as the best ground attack and target destruction.

The team placed first out of 14 four-pilot air crews from U.S. Air Force installations over the world. All of the teams fly the A-10 ground-attack aircraft, also known as the "Warthog."

The competition was held last week in Salinas, Kan. As winners of this year´s competition, the Idaho Air National Guard will host the next event in 2010.

The 190th Fighter Squadron returned in August from a deployment to Afghanistan. They faced some challenges leading up to the competition, according to Lt. Col. Tim Marsano, a spokesman for the Idaho National Guard.

The team of four pilots planned to practice eight sorties, but two of the pilots who were selected had to drop out and then 10 of the 12 A-10s were grounded for maintenance only two weeks before the competition.

The squadron selected two of the most recently trained A-10 pilots to fill the vacated team positions and worked out a deal to share jets with another unit, according to Marsano. They practiced only one sortie as a team before heading to Salina.

Maj. Gen. Larry Lafrenz, commanding general of the Idaho National Guard, congratulated the citizen airmen.

"This win validates the training we do here in Idaho, the great men and women in our ranks and some of the world´s best aircraft," he said in a press release. "It all came together for this competition."

There are 1,300 citizen airmen in the Idaho Air National Guard. Most are traditional members who serve one weekend a month and two weeks a year.


No comments:

Post a Comment