Thursday, October 14, 2010

'Hawgsmoke 2010' in Boise, Idaho

By Stan McKie
Boise City Buzz Examiner
October 13th, 2010 3:02 pm MT

"A community", that is how the A-10 pilots describe themselves, and best of that community are at Gowen Field this week to participate in the biennial 'Hawgsmoke' competition for 2010.

Forty A-10 Thunderbolt II planes, pilots and 200 ground support personnel from USAF, USAF Reserve and Air National Guard units from around the world will be in Idaho until Saturday, October 16, 2010 to compete in bombing, missile and tactical gunnery at the Saylor Bombing Range south of Mountain Home during the 'Hawgsmoke 2010' competition.

The competition is being held in Idaho because Idaho's 190th Fighter Squadron won in 2008; and the winner of the previous contest hosts the next one held two years later. Colonel T.J. Compton, commander of Idaho's 124th Fighter Wing, said that some of the finest A-10 pilots in the world will be attending. "This competition is going to define how good we are at what we do," said the Colonel. "These pilots are so good, that out of 100 bullets fired, they can put 98 or 99 or 100 on target. That is the score to win the competition…100 out of 100" He also called their airplane, unofficially known as the Warthog, as the ugliest aircraft in the inventory but the best at what it does. Col. Compton, serving as commander of the 190th in 2003; led the first wave out A-10s into Iraq at the beginning of the war in Iraq.

Current 190th Fighter Squadron commander, LTC Bryan Odneal, said the love of flying the airplane "is the 30mm gun. That gun, the GAU-3 Gatling Gun, is the main weapon of the A-10. It fires 30mm armor piercing rounds at 600 rounds per minute and is used to attack targets on the ground.

Odneal said, "It's like any big game, we practice on a daily basis, it's like Coach Peterson (BSU football coach) said the other day. We come out and do the same drill over and over again, because that is what makes you better.

Associated photos


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