Saturday, October 18, 2008

Idaho Air National Guard team wins Hawgsmoke 2008

by Maj. David Kurle
442nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

10/17/2008 - SALINA, Kan. -- The 190th Fighter Squadron from the Idaho Air National Guard was named the Top Team for Hawgsmoke 2008 in Salina, Kan., Oct. 17 at an awards banquet capping off four days of competition among 14 A-10 Thunderbolt II squadrons from across the Air Force.

The 190th, part of the 124th Wing, based at Boise International Airport, Idaho, will be expected to host the next Hawgsmoke competition in 2010.

Hawgsmoke, held every two years, tests the skills A-10 pilots use in every-day training to employ the ground-attack aircraft in its primary role as a close-air-support platform. Aviators are tested on their times over targets; how well they place 30-mm cannon rounds, training bombs and the AGM-65 Maverick missile on simulated targets; the quality of their combat tactics; as well as their formation flying.

After being judged in each event, the scores are tallied and winners in each category are announced at the dinner on the last night of Hawgsmoke.

Approximately 50 pilots competed in Hawgsmoke, assisted by 400 combat support and maintenance Airmen.

Thirty A-10s, all from Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard units, started arriving at the Salina Airport, Oct. 14 and flew for three days to get all 14 teams through the events. Pilots were forced to share aircraft from other units because of an Air Force time-compliance technical order that mandated inspections on approximately 130 of the Air Force's 360 A-10 aircraft. The order was issued approximately two weeks before the competition's start date.

This year's Hawgsmoke was hosted by the 442nd Fighter Wing's 303rd Fighter Squadron, which won the event at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., in 2006. The 442nd, an Air Force Reserve unit based at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., selected the Salina Airport as the 2008 location because of its ample flight line and its proximity to the Smoky Hill Range, where the bombing and gunnery events were held.

"The City of Salina and the people here have been absolutely outstanding in their support of Hawgsmoke," said Lt. Col. Brian Borgen who served as the event organizer. "We couldn't have asked for a better location. We really owe Salina and our sponsors a huge 'thank you' for helping us plan and execute Hawgsmoke 2008."

Journalists and visitors from around the world traveled to central Kansas to cover and witness the competition, which concludes Oct. 18 when 28 A-10 pilots are scheduled take off and fly back to their home units.

The Hawgsmoke 2008 winners in each category were:

Top Maverick Missile Team: 303rd FS from Whiteman AFB, Mo.

Top Tactical Team: 303rd FS.

Top Strafe Team: 103rd FS, Pennsylvania Air National Guard from Naval Air Station, Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove, Pa.

Top Bombing Team: 47th FS, Air Force Reserve Command, from Barksdale AFB, La.

Top Arrival Team: 81st FS from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.

Top Pilot Award: Capt. Jerry Cook, 45th FS, Air Force Reserve Command, from Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.

Top High-Altitude Dive Bomb Award: Capt. Jerry Cook, 45th FS.

Top 30-Degree Dive Bomb Award: Maj. Bill Zutell, 103rd FS.

Top Low-Angle, High-Delivery Pop Award: Lt. Col. Bob Pugh from the Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve Test Center in Tucson, Ariz.

Top Strafe Award: 1st Lt. Nick Decker, 303rd FS.

All the awards were presented by Col. Mark Clemons, commander of the 442nd FW.


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