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Moody kicks off Hawgsmoke 2021

Capt. Derek Fallert speaks at the Hawgsmoke opening ceremony

U.S. Air Force Capt. Derek Fallert, master of ceremonies, speaks to attendees of the Hawgsmoke 2021 opening ceremony April 14, 2021, at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. Hawgsmoke is a biennial aerial competition designed to test the bombing, missile and tactical gunnery skills of the pilots and maintainers of the U.S. Air Force A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Perkinson)

Col. Dan Walls speaks at opening ceremony

U.S. Air Force Col. Dan Walls, 23d Wing commander, gives a speech at the Hawgsmoke 2021 opening ceremony April 14, 2021, at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. Walls, an A-10C Thunderbolt II pilot, welcomed participants of Hawgsmoke on behalf of the 23d Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Perkinson)

Pilots conduct missing-man formation

Pilots with the 23d Fighter Group, conduct a missing-man formation during the Hawgsmoke 2021 opening ceremony April 14, 2021, at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. The formation is an aerial salute performed in memory of fallen service members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Perkinson)

Broken shot glasses sit next to a ceremonial fire pit after a toast to fallen comrades

Broken shot glasses sit next to a ceremonial fire pit after a toast to fallen comrades April 14, 2021, at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. The toast is held in honor of fallen A-10C Thunderbolt II pilots and signals the start of the Hawgsmoke competition. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Perkinson)

Dr. Lucy Greene attends opening ceremony

Dr. Lucy Greene, Moody Support Committee, attends the Hawgsmoke 2021 opening ceremony April 14, 2021, at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. As winners of Hawgsmoke 2018, the 23d Fighter Group hosted this year’s event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Perkinson)

An attendee films an A-10 flying overhead

An attendee of the Hawgsmoke 2021 opening ceremony, records a video of an A-10C Thunderbolt II demonstration, April 14, 2021, at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. The Air Combat Command A-10C Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team, is stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, and the pilot is here to compete in Hawgsmoke 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Perkinson)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --

The 23d Wing welcomed A-10C Thunderbolt II pilot, maintenance and weapons teams from seven installations across the globe during the opening ceremony of Hawgsmoke 2021, April 14 at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia.

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.

“Hosted by the previous winner, Hawgsmoke is an intense competition amongst war fighters of the world’s premier close air support attack community,” said Capt. Derek Fallert, master of ceremonies. “The Flying Tigers emerged victorious in 2018 at Whiteman Air Force Base, and that’s how we find ourselves here today.”

Hawgsmoke encourages pilot and maintenance competition, while ultimately honoring tradition and paying respects to fallen drivers.

“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.”

Fallert 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.

“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,” said Fallert. “All hawg drivers are requested to make a toast before smashing their glass into the fire pit.”

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,” Fallert said. “Hawgsmoke is so unique because it provides a chance for Hawg drivers young and old to gather and share war stories.”

The winners of each of the 11 categories will be announced April 16, 2021.