by Tech. Sgt. Kent Kagarise
442nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
8/21/2012 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- The 442nd Fighter Wing sent approximately 45 reservists to Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., Aug. 15, to compete in Hawgsmoke, an international A-10 Thunderbolt II biennial gunnery competition.
The competition, Aug. 14-18, allowed the units to assemble pilots and maintainers, who were selected by their peers to display their expertise and gain knowledge from colleagues.
"This is a great way for the A-10 community to come together and see how we are conducting operations as a whole," said Col. Gregory Eckfeld, 442nd FW vice commander.
Eckfeld said the competition defines who is the A-10 "top gun" while reinforcing close-air support by networking through academic discussions on tactics, techniques and procedures.
"Hawgsmoke brings pilots and maintainers who have deployed together with those who haven't and allows them to compare notes so others can be combat ready," Eckfeld said.
Participants in Hawgsmoke are comprised of Airmen with different levels of experience and time in service.
"They want a mix of youth and wisdom on the teams," Eckfeld said. "Typically a lieutenant gets picked rather than just stacking the odds with colonels who have 4,000 hours in the cockpit."
Maj. Dax Hayes, 303rd Fighter Squadron A-10 instructor pilot flight commander, said Hawgsmoke assists in keeping units sharp and encourages tactical cross talk.
"This is the fifth Hawgsmoke in a row that I've attended," Hayes said. "It's a great chance to see some old A-10 friends that I haven't seen in a long time."
Tech. Sgt. James F. Wilson, 442nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron specialist flight avionics technician, said Hawgsmoke is a chance to unify a relatively small A-10 community.
"I'm just honored to be a part of a competition that involves what I feel like is the best war-fighting aircraft in the United States Air Force," Wilson said.
Please note: On their public website, 442nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs released some more related pictures. Just check the photo section! Only two of them:
Two A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft fly over the Sonoran Desert on return from the Barry M. Goldwater range complex during the Hawgsmoke A-10 gunnery competition Aug. 16, 2012. Hawgsmoke is an international biennial competition, with 60 aircraft from 15 A-10 units competing. The host unit was Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Lauren Padden) Hi-res
An A-10 Thunderbolt II from 23rd Fighter Group, Moody Air Force Base, Ga., passes by at the Barry M. Goldwater range complex during the Hawgsmoke A-10 gunnery competition Aug. 16, 2012. Hawgsmoke is an international biennial competition, among 15 A-10 units. The host unit for the 2012 competition was Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Lauren Padden) Hi-res