Saturday, October 16, 2010

Idaho Air National Guard pilots win worldwide competition

By Stan McKie
Boise City Buzz Examiner
October 16th, 2010 9:08 am MT

Pilots from Idaho's 190th Fighter Squadron have won for the second time the "Hawgsmoke 2010" worldwide A-10 bombing and gunnery competition held in Idaho this week. The announcement of the winner was made at an awards ceremony last night.

This year's winning team of 4 pilots from the 190th are all are from the Treasure Valley:

· 190th Fighter Squadron Commander, Lt. Col. Ryan Odneal
· Maj. Scott Downey
· Maj. Justin Keskey
· Capt. Ryan Brown

Idaho also took home top pilot honors, with Maj. Downey and Capt. Brown named top pilots; numbers 1 and 2, respectively, out of the 72 pilots competing.

The 190th Fighter Squadron Commander, Lt. Col. Ryan Odneal, had words of praise for the 124th Fighter Wing maintenance team, which played a critical role in the competition, ensuring the aircraft were in the best condition possible. "We could not have done it without them," he said. "They are the best of the best."

Eighteen U.S. Air Force, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard teams from around the nation and South Korean competed. More than 40 aircraft participated, and over 200 pilots and maintenance personnel came to Gowen Field for the competition, which takes place every two years.

Hawgsmoke is an A-10 bombing, missile, and tactical gunnery competition which hones pilots' combat skills, and is also an opportunity to build camaraderie and fellowship of the world's premier Close Air Support fighter, the A-10 "Warthog." Teams competed on the Mountain Home Range complex, and all competition took place yesterday, Oct. 14.

The Idaho Air National Guard hosted this year's event as a result of winning the 2008 Hawgsmoke competition in Salinas, Kans.

Idaho will not host the 2012 event because competition rules state that a unit cannot host back-to-back events. Therefore, the second-place team, the 354th Fighter Squadron from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Ariz., will host the 2012 Hawgsmoke.

Hawgsmoke 2010 gunnery targets.

Hawgsmoke 2010 30mm rounds strike gunnery targets.

Hawgsmoke 2010 A-10 fires GAU-8 30mm Gatling Gun.


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