2016 Event Review

Hawgsmoke 2016, June 1-4, 2016
Location: Davis-Monthan AFB & Barry M. Goldwater Range, AZ, USA
Admission: Closed to the general public, credentialed media only
Parking: N/A
Value:: Outstanding
Rating out of 10:Not an air show PRICELESS!

A-10C parked at Davis-Monthan AFB

The biennial Hawgsmoke competition took place June 1-4, 2016. The event is hosted by the squadron which won the previous competition and, since the 47th Fighter Squadron won 2014's contest, Davis-Monthan AFB once again played host. A total of thirteen A-10 squadrons accepted the challenge and showed up to engage in several days of socializing and competition.

The squadrons flew in on Wednesday, June 1 and after their arrival they held the "Fallen Hawg" ceremonies in front of the Thunderbolt II on static display at the Heritage Park. In a somber ceremony, the names of all fallen A-10 pilots, whether killed in action, training or passed away from other causes, were read. After the last man's name was read a four-ship formation of Warthogs flew over and performed a missing-man tribute. All of the pilots in attendance then drank a shot of whiskey and smashed their glasses to honor the fallen.

The bombing and gunnery competitions took place the next day at the Barry M. Goldwater Range (BMGR) near Yuma, AZ. Lt. Col. Brett "Zero" Waring of the 47th FS and project lead for Hawgsmoke set out the goals of the tactical competition. "This year we're focusing on the precision engagement capabilities of the A-10C. The pilots will have a 10 minute window with a fairly pre-planned scenario to go out with threats templated on the ground that they'll have to contend with and see how many targets they can kill of different types in a very realistic scenario." The second portion of the competition took place on the conventional range. The bombing runs involved high, low and pop-up runs on a dilapidated MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle). Instead of dropping live ammunition, 25lb BDU-33 training bombs were used. These simulated the flight behavior of the standard 500lb Mk82 bomb, but only release a smoke charge upon impact.
The final portion of the competition involved strafing runs on a small cloth target placed close to the range tower. These employed live 30mm rounds, which caused the target area to erupt into a cloud of dust after each firing pass. Microphones set up behind berms recorded the impact position of each round in the plane of the target, providing real-time scoring. After firing, each pilot banked hard, climbing in a tight turn. Behind him, the next aircraft was already lining up.
The winner of this year's Hawgsmoke competition was once again the 47th Fighter Squadron, which almost swept all of the categories. Unfortunately, the rules don't allow a team to host the competition twice in a row. At press-time the host and location for the next Hawgsmoke had not yet been announced, but wherever it is, we'll be there in 2018!
We would like to thank the staff of the 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office for their hospitality and all of their support during our visit, in particular 2d Lt. Sydney Smith and Capt. Casey Osborne. Thanks also to Lt. Col. Brett "Zero" Waring, Maj. Kyle "Swat" Lanto and the rest of the "Terrible Termites" of the 47th Fighter Squadron for hosting such a fantastic meet.

The exercise included:

Inbound Units:

74th FS, Moody AFB GA

75th FS, Moody AFB, GA

104th FS, Baltimore ANG

107th FS, Michigan ANG

163d FS, Indiana ANG

303d FS, Whiteman AFB MO


Davis-Monthan AFB Units:

47th FS
354th FS
357th FS
AATC Test Squadron


Units participating but not sending aircraft:

25th FS, Osan AB Republic of Korea
76th FS, AFRC, Moody AFB GA
358th FS, Whiteman AFB MO


Hawgsmoke 2016 results:

45 degree High Altitude Dive Bomb:
1. Capt. David "Gnome" Knighton, 47th Fighter Squadron
2. 1st Lt. Christopher "STYFLR" Shelley, 76th Fighter Squadron
3. Maj. John "Atlas" Meyers, 25th Fighter Squadron

30 degree Dive Bomb, HARS (Heading and Altitude Reference System; degraded delivery):
1. Capt. Tyler "Mully" Shipman, 47th Fighter Squadron
2. Maj. Jeff "Z" Sliwoski, ANG AFRC Test Center
3. Capt. Ryan "Slinga" Yingling, 104th Fighter Squadron

10 degree Low Angle High Drag Pop-up:
1. Capt. Simon "Honey-Badger" Long, 47th Fighter Squadron
2. Lt. Col. Alan "Lick" McCracken, ANG AFRC Test Center
3. Capt. David "Gnome" Knighton, 47th Fighter Squadron

Long Range Strafe:
1. Lt. Col. John "Karl" Marks, 303rd Fighter Squadron
2. Capt. Ben Best, 107th Fighter Squadron

Low Angle Strafe:
1. Capt. Josh "Tono" Woodard, 354th Fighter Squadron
2. Capt. Max "EDDIE" Sery, 25th Fighter Squadron

Top Conventional Team (Maj. Jeff "Burger" Watterberg Trophy)
47th Fighter Squadron

Top Tactical Team (Capt. Steve "Syph" Phillis Trophy)
25th Fighter Squadron, Osan AB, Republic of Korea

Top Overall Pilot (Lt. Col. Robert "Muck" Brown Trophy)
Capt David "Gnome" Knighton, 47th Fighter Squadron

Top Overall Team (Col. Al "Mud" Moore Trophy)
47th Fighter Squadron

Thank you to the Media Team at Trenton for their friendly support and advice on the day and early access to the static park.

A-10 firing a deadly burst with the 30mm Gatling gun
Report and photography by Norman A. Graf for

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