The 23d Wing welcomed A-10C Thunderbolt II pilot, maintenance and weapons teams from 7 installations across the globe during the opening ceremony of Hawgsmoke 2021, April 14. A-10 pilots are prepared to leave it all on the range during Hawgsmoke–a time-honored tradition, two-day event that offers friendly competition to not only pilots, but maintainers and weapons teams. Hawgsmoke encourages pilot and maintenance competition, while ultimately honoring tradition and paying respects to fallen drivers.
“Hosted by the previous winner, Hawgsmoke is an intense competition amongst war fighters of the world’s premier close air support attack community. The Flying Tigers emerged victorious in 2018 at Whiteman Air Force Base, and that’s how we find ourselves here today. It is tradition to offer a toast to honor each of these aviators as a mark of respect for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. All hawg drivers are requested to make a toast before smashing their glass into the fire pit” said Capt. Derek Fallert, master of ceremonies.
“New pilots will train to fly the hog and seasoned pilots will continue to sharpen the tusks of the mighty warthog,” said Col. Dan Walls, 23d WG commander. “But we should always remember those you have preceded us.”
Master of ceremonies stated names of late A-10 drivers. Following the roll call, four hawgs performed a missing-man formation–a maneuver in which one pilot abruptly pulls away, symbolizing all fallen A-10 pilots. As shot glasses smoldered in the fire pit to symbolize the fallen aviators, Hawgsmoke participants gathered in remembrance. The A-10 Warthog has been flown by the pilots of the United States Air Force for 45 years. Hawgsmoke is so unique because it provides a chance for Hawg drivers young and old to gather and share war stories.