By Staff Sgt. Jeremy McGuffin
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Six aircrews representing their respective units took to the skies to determine who the best of the best is during the annual Turkey Shoot competition May 13 at Little Rock Air Force Base. The turkey shoot is a premier training exercise that challenges one flying unit against another in a friendly competition which aims to hone combat airlift fundamentals.
This year’s competition gave the 48th Airlift Squadron, 714th Training Squadron, 41st Airlift Squadron, two crews from 61st Airlift Squadron and the 327th Airlift Squadron the ability to flex their skills and compete against each other. The previous turkey shoot was smaller scale, but the event has now gained traction among all of Team Little Rock and looks to become an integral part of our tradition.
“All traditions have a beginning,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Scott Branco, 314th Operations Group Chief of Weapons and Tactics and event coordinator. “The last time we executed a turkey shoot we only had participation from the 314th Airlift Wing. Our vision for the event is to hold it twice a year while continuing to grow with maintenance and mission support functions.”
The turkey shoot is split into multiple events to test and evaluate all aspects of Combat Airlift such as high-level and low level time control, threat mitigation, simulating GPS-out, container delivery system airdrops, assault landings and loading/offloading Humvees. An evaluator was placed on each aircraft with the crewmembers to record their performances.
“Across the board we had great feedback from the aircrews” said Branco. “They were able to execute all of the events and we had them doing things not normally done on a daily basis. The crews earned great scores which shows our teamwork and training is top notch and we can achieve mission success in the face of challenging situations.”
The combination of the events for each unit is tallied and scored by judges. The winners are scheduled to be announced May 20, 2016, at 3 p.m. at Hangar 1080.
The award presentation itself aims to create traditions for Team Little Rock.
“With a nod to the Arkansas Razorbacks, we got our hands on a miniature “pig trophy” for the turkey shoot awards” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Nick Hainsfurther, 314th OG Weapons and Tactics deputy chief.
For this iteration of the competition, the judges will award the front half of the “pig trophy” to the aircrew with the best assault landing and the rear half of the pig to the crew with the fastest engine running on load/off load time.
“A new trophy we are implementing is a real stuffed turkey which will go the squadron of the overall best crew that Staff Sgt. Bruchwalski from the 48th Airlift Squadron donated from his personal collection,” Hainsfurther said. “We also have a plaque that we plan to hang in a prominent spot that will bear the winners of this and each subsequent turkey shoot.”
The turkey shoot is more than just fun competition, but also a lead into the new Mobility Guardian Exercise being conducted by Air Mobility Command planned for July 30 – Aug. 12, 2017 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.
“We envision the turkey shoot as a stepping stone to Mobility Guardian,” Hainsfurther said. “Whether or not the winning crew from the turkey shoot represents Little Rock at Mobility Guardian, the overarching objective of the turkey shoot is to hone combat airlift fundamentals which we expect to improve Team Little Rock’s performance not only at Mobility Guardian, but here at Little Rock Air Force Base and abroad.”
To view last year’s competition visit https://afpims.dma.mil/Site/ManagerView.aspx?URL=http:/ newpreview.afnews.af.mil/littlerock/news/story.asp?id=123457026.