The 355th Fighter Wing will host 14 A-10 teams from around the world for the 8th biannual bombing, missile, and tactical gunnery competition known as Hawgsmoke July 9-12.
The competition focuses on A-10 tactics such as moving target strafe techniques, GPS-out navigation, and degraded weapons delivery. Both the individual and team portions of the competition are conducted at military operating areas.
Hawgsmoke 2012 was also hosted at Davis-Monthan AFB. Since the 357th Fighter Squadron finished 1st place in 2012, D-M earned the honor of hosting the 2014 competition.
Hawgsmoke traces its heritage of the now discontinued “Gunsmoke” event. Gunsmoke was the USAF’s air-to-ground gunnery and bombing competition with multiple airframes held at Nellis AFB. The last Gunsmoke event was held in 1995.
The inaugural Hawgsmoke was in 2000 at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center in Michigan. It was hosted by the Michigan ANG’s 172nd Fighter Squardron from Battle Creek. Col. Cliff Latta of the 172nd is credited with initiating Hawgsmoke.
Four-ship teams of airplanes and pilots from A-10 units around the world flew and competed for the honor of being the ‘Best of the Best’ in ground attack and target destruction. Top Team honors went to the Connecticut ANG and they in turn hosted the next event, Hawgsmoke 2002, at the Fort Drum Forward Operating Location in New York State.
There, 17 teams and 62 aircraft competed, with the overall winner being the four member team from the 47th Fighter Squadron at Barksdale AFB, LA. The 47th had come in second in 2000 and were determined to make up for unfinished business. Hawgsmoke 2002 focused on accurately dropping BDU-33s practice bombs, firing the AGM-65 “Maverick” missile, and strafing proficiency with the 30 mm Gatling gun. Much emphasis was placed on target acquisition as well.
The third event, 2004 Hawgsmoke, was hosted by the 47th FS “Dogpatchers” and held at England Air Park, formerly England AFB,in central Louisiana. 18 teams and over 70 aircraft made the trip in anticipation of the competition, camaraderie, and celebration of the world’s premier CAS aircraft.
Unfortunately, the competition was undone by forces of Mother Nature and the bad weather resulted in Hawgsmoke 2004 becoming known as Hawgwash 2004. Nevertheless, it was declared a success for the opportunity of the Hog community to get together, share experiences and party like rock stars.
With no winner from “Hawgwash”, the 355th Fighter Wing picked up the slack. Hawgsmoke 2006 was held March 22-25 at Davis Monthan AFB. Adding even more to the luster of Hawgsmoke, the 2006 installment marked the 30th Anniversary of the A-10 and served as a homecoming for all Hawgdrivers due to the fact initial A-10 training is carried out at DM. With over 140 aircraft are on the ramp, the event went off without a hitch. After the scores had been tallied, the 303d Fighter Squadron from Whiteman AFB, MO emerged the winner.
The Boys from Boise took the title at the 4th event, so they hosted an outstanding event in 2010. Practicing at their home range for months on end, they were able to walk away victorious yet again, but not without the 354th Bulldogs hot on their heels. By regulation 11-202vol69, the hosting team is not allowed to host twice in a row, so the Bulldogs hosted in 2012.
With fair weather, and fair jets, the 357th Dragons have taken the most recent title, bringing the Hawgsmoke competition home again, to Tucson, AZ!