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HILL’S 388TH IS 4TH AT GUNSMOKE ’89

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The 388th Tactical Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base lost its top team title at the Gunsmoke '89 competition that wrapped up Thursday.

An Air National Guard unit, the 169th Tactical Fighter Group (TFG) from McEntire Air National Guard Base, S.C., won the overall title at the competition, held over the last two weeks at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.The Top Gun trophy, awarded to the individual pilot with the best overall flying score, goes to Capt. Patrick Shay, an F-16 pilot with the 944th TFG, Luke AFB, Ariz.

The 388th ended up fourth overall in the competition, according to a unit spokesman. Capt. Michael France, the 388th's top individual scorer, placed fourth in the Top Gun competition, and the unit's maintenance crew also finished fourth overall.

France took first place in the two-day navigation and attack phase of the individual flying competition, scoring a perfect 900 points one day and 896 the second.

Although placing fourth overall, the 388th's maintenance unit took second in the munitions loading event. Maintenance crews compete in rearming and refueling an aircraft under simulated combat conditions and a static bomb loading situation.

According to a 388th spokesman, point totals in two events - aircraft appearance and top crew chief - had not been posted by Friday morning, but the results are not expected to change the overall standings.

The 169th TFG took the overall lead during the navigation and attack phase of the competition and held onto it through the last day. Second place overall went to the 944th TFG from Luke AFB and third went to the 432nd TFW from Misawa Air Base, Japan.

The 388th was fourth, followed by the 347th TFW from Moody AFB, Ga., which won Gunsmoke's first event, the arrival competition.

Following Shay in first place in the Top Gun competition is Lt. Col. Edward Whalen with the 86th TFW, Ramstein AFB, Germany, in second place; third went to Maj. Timothy Rush from the 169th TFG, followed by France from the 388th.

In the maintenance competition, the 432nd TFW from Japan placed first, followed by the Luke's 944th TFG, the 930th TFG from Grissom AFB, Ind., and the 388th.

A total of 16 teams from Air Force bases around the world, comprising 80 aircraft and over 1,000 people, competed in the two weeks of flying and maintenance contests.

An awards ceremony is scheduled for Saturday at Nellis, and the 388th will return to Hill Sunday, according to a base spokesman.