Military Aviation

This A-10 Driver Won the Top Strafer Award at Hawgsmoke 2018

The top strafe award went to Capt. Sky Lesh due to his ability to put the most amount of bullets on targets during a specified time

U.S. Air Force Capt. Sky Lesh, 354th Fighter Squadron A-10 Thunderbolt II pilot, won the top strafer award at Hawgsmoke 2018 at Whiteman Air Force Base Oct. 17-20 2018.

As explained by Airman 1st Class Michael X. Beyer, 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, in the article D-M pilot wins top strafer award at Hawgsmoke 2018, Hawgsmoke is a biennial worldwide A-10 precision bombing and tactical gunnery competition. It provides an opportunity for camaraderie, fellowship of the world’s premier close air support fighter and a legacy of its pilots and support crews.

“The competition focuses on bombing deliveries, strafing, and Maverick deliveries,” Lesh said. “It hits on all of the different kinds of deliveries.”

The top strafe award went to Lesh due to his ability to put the most amount of bullets on targets during a specified time.

“It was challenging being in an unknown range and never seeing the delivery or target before,” said Lesh.

This print is available in multiple sizes from – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. A-10C Thunderbolt II 355th FW, 354th FS Bulldogs, FS/82-684. Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ – 2015

Overall, D-M placed second among the nine squadrons that competed in Hawgsmoke 2018.

This model is available in multiple sizes from AirModels – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.

Beyond friendly comradery and competition, Hawgsmoke provides a valuable opportunity for A-10 pilots to test their tireless training and prove their warfighting capabilities.

“The 354th FS gives an example of all A-10 fighter squadrons and how extensively we train. The time and effort we spend every day, and each sortie we fly is spent training so we can be the best that we can in a combat situation. This ensures that we are able to effectively put guns and bombs on targets,” Lesh said.

Overall, Hawgsmoke provides pilots important opportunities to socialize, compete and hone their abilities.

“Competition is important to spur tactical innovation and a desire to be the best that you can be,” said Lt. Col. Nicholas Dicapua, 354th FS commander.

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

Artwork courtesy of

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

Recent Posts

The story of the Royal Air Force CF-105 Arrow All-Weather Fighters that Never Were

It was on the basis of the Arrow’s future potential, more than CF-105 then-current design,… Read More

23 hours ago

The Argentine Air Force may buy surplus CH-46 Sea Knight medium-lift helicopter stored at 309 AMARG

The Argentine Air Force may give new life to the Boeing CH-46 medium-lift helicopter, retired… Read More

23 hours ago

Vietnam could buy the F-16 Block 70/72, the newest and most advanced Viper production configuration

The Biden administration is in talks with Vietnam over an agreement for the largest arms… Read More

2 days ago

The SR-71 Blackbird Astro-Nav System (aka R2-D2) worked by tracking the stars and was so powerful that it could see the stars even in daylight

Mounted behind the SR-71 Blackbird RSO’s cockpit, this unit, (that was affectionately dubbed “R2-D2” after… Read More

3 days ago