Last week I was invited to attend "Hawg Day 2023" along with some other local community members. Hawg Day is a special day where family and friends of Idaho's National Guard members get to experience a military exhibition out at Saylor Creek Air Force Range near Bruneau, ID. This unique day was designed to engage the community and generate support for the Idaho National Guard and their state and federal missions. Guests were invited to explore the range before Airmen showcased what their A-10 Thunderbolt II (affectionately called Hawgs) can do. The sights and sounds were so cool and quite memorable for everyone in attendance.
We were spoiled and were transported to and from Gowen Field here in Boise to the Range via Black Hawk helicopters! It was an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I'm forever grateful for!
I don't come from a military family and honestly don't know a whole lot about it so thought it would be good to share some of what I learned during my experience.
Here are some interesting tidbits:
-The Idaho National Guard is made up of the Idaho Air Guard and the Idaho Army National Guard. They are both part of the Idaho Military Division and report directly to the Idaho Governor or if called upon nationally, the President of the United States.
-There are about 5,000 members in the Idaho Military and 80% of those are part time.
-The 124th Fighter Wing is the largest component of the Idaho Air National Guard. Their vision is to be America's premier fighter wing by developing and retaining warfighter for our nation and by being guardians for our state.
-The Air National Guard is a separate reserve component of the US Air Force and is unique in that it serves both a state and national role. There are more than 1,200 Airmen serving today.
-Typically, Air Guard members live and stay in the same community and are not reassigned to a new duty station every few years like active-duty members meaning Airmen, with their families, are deeply integrated in their communities.
-The mission of the Idaho Army National Guard is to maintain combat readiness and domestic emergency response capability. "Always Ready... Always There" is one of their mottos.
-The Army National Guard develops and strengthens homeland security and emergency response while building partnerships across the nation and around the world.
"Gowen Thunder is the Treasure Valley’s largest-ever military airshow & open house with attendance expected to exceed 150,000. Please join us for a family friendly, patriotic event that promotes community awareness of the Idaho National Guard, celebrates achievements in the military & aviation, and honors service and sacrifice. General admission is free."
Thank you again and again to the men and women who serve our state and our country through the Idaho National Guard. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to see a glimpse of who you are and what you do.