Davis-Monthan AFB hosts A-10 'Hawgsmoke' competition

Davis-Monthan AFB hosts A-10 'Hawgsmoke' competition

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - More than two dozen A-10 attack jets will soar over Tucson Thursday morning as they head to the Hawgsmoke competition at Barry Goldwater Air Force Range.

The 355th Fighter Wing at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base will host this year's Hawgsmoke, which takes place every other year.

27 A-10 attack jets and 14 teams from across the country arrived at DM on Wednesday to participate in the bombing, missile and tactical gunnery competition.

Per tradition, the winning team hosts each Hawgsmoke. DM's 357th Fighter Squadron won the last Hawgsmoke competition in 2012.

The possibility of the A-10 mission's retirement due to automatic budget cuts has not stopped the beloved competition from taking place.

But A-10 pilots competing in this year's Hawgsmoke are not thinking about that possibility. They came to DM with one thing in mind -- to win.

"This competition is the culmination of our training. So in general, we train to serve the taxpayers wherever we are, but this time is when we get to compete against each other from different units," said Lt. Col. Sammuel Berenguer.

The event is closed to the public due to security reasons but the competition is not intended for entertainment.

Participating pilots said it's a reinforcement of the A-10's expertise in close-air ground support.

"That's really what it's about here, is bringing those pilots out and showcase their skill sets and hone those edges against one another," said Lt. Col. Bryan France, Director of Operations with the 74th Fighter Squadron at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia.

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