Final ‘Turkey Shoot’ for 188th

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They call it a ‘turkey shoot’ and pilots with the 188th Fighter Wing in Fort Smith put their last one on the books Monday (May 13).

“It went really well,” said Major Doug Davis. “We had all of the bombs that were supposed to come off the airplanes, did come off the airplanes. They all hit the ground. So that's a good thing.”

It's all part of a friendly competition for pilots in the 188th Fighter Wing to see who drops bombs most effectively.

“The computers were taken out of the loop so it went back to bombing the way it used to be without the computers,” Major Davis said. “So a lot of the manual bombs, and things like that were used to let the pilot have the ability to make the bomb hit the right target.”

It also doubles as a training exercise.

Pilots also made strafing runs where they targeted an old tank on the ground with their 30mm Gatling guns and fired rockets at other targets.

“It builds confidence in the weapon system, the weapons themselves, and it also builds the pilots confidence, actually coming out and employing the weapons and seeing how well they do here in a controlled environment before you get to such a dynamic environment overseas,” Major Davis said.

For pilots at the 188th, this could be the last time they get to participate in a turkey shoot in Fort Smith, as the A-10s begin to be replaced with drone aircraft.

“From what we understand, this will be the last time here in Fort Smith with the A-10s,” Major Davis said.  “There are some individuals that are moving on to other aircraft though, so they may have the opportunity to do it again. But here in Fort Smith, more than likely, this will be the last time.”