Idaho Air Guard unit wins Hawgsmoke team award

A-10 Thunderbolt II

A-10 Thunderbolt II

The A-10 Thunderbolt II is a combination tank-killer and Close-Air-Support champion. Find your A-10 Thunderbolt II poster, framed print, or 2009 calendar print at The PatriArt Gallery.

The Idaho Air National Guard’s 190th Fighter Squadron was named the top team at Hawgsmoke 2008 in Salina, Kan., Oct. 17. An awards banquet capped 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.

Held every two years, Hawgsmoke tests the skills A-10 pilots use in every-day training on the ground-attack aircraft. The primary role of the A-10 is close-air support of ground troops.

Hawgsmoke tests the pilots on their times over targets; how well they place 30-mm cannon rounds, training bombs and AGM-65 Maverick missiles on simulated targets; and the quality of their combat tactics and 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.

About 50 pilots competed in Hawgsmoke this year. Another 400 Airmen provided aircraft maintenance and combat support.

Thirty A-10s, all from Air Force Reserve Command 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.

The pilots had to share aircraft from other units because of an Air Force time-compliance technical order that mandated inspections on about 130 of the Air Force’s 360 A-10 aircraft. The Air Force issued the order two weeks before the competition began.

The 442nd Fighter Wing’s 303rd Fighter Squadron hosted this year’s Hawgsmoke after winning the event at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., in 2006. The 442nd, an Air Force Reserve unit based at Whiteman AFB, 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, 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 ended Oct. 18.

The Hawgsmoke 2008 winners in each category were:

— Top Maverick Missile Team: 303rd FS

— Top Tactical Team: 303rd FS

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

— Top Bombing Team: AFRC’s 47th FS, Barksdale AFB, La.

— Top Arrival Team: U.S. Air Forces in Europe’s 81st FS, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany

— Top Pilot Award: Capt. Jerry Cook, AFRC’s 45th FS, Davis-Monthan AFB

— Top High-Altitude Dive Bomb Award: Captain 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, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Test Center, Tucson, Ariz.

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

Col. Mark Clemons, 442nd FW commander, presented the awards.

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