BOISE, Idaho – The 124th Fighter Wing’s 190th Fighter Squadron was recognized as the top pilot team at Hawgsmoke 2021, a biannual A-10 Thunderbolt II competition, at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, April 14-17.
The 190th Fighter Squadron won all three team awards: overall champion, top bombing team and top tactical team. The overall win is the squadron’s third since 2003.
More than 150 pilots, maintainers and weapon teams from 13 Air Force units across the globe and all Air Force components competed in the event, hosted by the 23d Fighter Group.
“It feels wonderful to be able to lead a great team to victory,” said Lt. Col. Jason Cobb, a 190th Fighter Squadron pilot. “To be able to win Hawgsmoke, amongst the fierce competition, is pretty surreal and words cannot express what this means to us as a team.”
To keep the competition unique and challenging, the events are kept secret until just before takeoff.
“You don’t know what the events are until about 10 minutes before takeoff,” said Cobb. “They might give you a general idea of what to prepare for, but you never know until you are sitting in the cockpit.”
The events included a variety of challenges to test pilots’ skills.
“We did three events,” said Cobb. “They take all the scores and then factor any errors into the scores. We pretty much destroyed and killed all the events.”
The win showcases the team effort it takes to maintain combat readiness.
“I’m incredibly proud of our Hawgsmoke champions,” said Col. Shannon Smith, the 124th Fighter Wing commander. “I’m especially proud of the fact that they swept every team award. So much of how we fight is grounded in teamwork, mutual support and being a solid wingman. Winning this worldwide competition is great validation of the amazing efforts of all of our Airmen in the 124th Fighter Wing in ensuring our enduring combat readiness.”
The winning team traditionally hosts the next competition. The Idaho National Guard could host the event at Gowen Field in 2022 or 2023.
“We look forward to hosting the next Hawgsmoke in Boise,” Smith said before exclaiming a triumphant, “ATTACK!”