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Arctic camouflage makes Eielson's hogs unique

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska--An A-10 with an arctic paint scheme sits next to an A-10 with a regular all gray or green paint scheme sit on the flightline March 1982. That year, an A-10 was repainted in an arctic camouflage scheme as an experiment for an upcoming exercise titled OPERATION Cool Snow Hog. (File photo)

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska--An A-10 with an arctic paint scheme sits next to an A-10 with a regular all gray or green paint scheme sit on the flightline March 1982. That year, an A-10 was repainted in an arctic camouflage scheme as an experiment for an upcoming exercise titled OPERATION Cool Snow Hog. (File photo)

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- Last week an article in the Arctic Sentry detailed the history of the A-10s here at Eielson--but there was an important piece of early A-10 history intentionally left out. 

Any guesses to what was not mentioned or what the difference is between the two hogs ... and yes, the two are interrelated? 

The only difference between the two 'hogs' is color. A snowhog is covered in arctic camouflage and a warthog is all gray or green. OK, maybe not so many know what in the world I'm talking about. Snowhogs and Warthogs are nicknames for our soon-to-be gone A-10s. 

On December 18, 1981, two A-10 aircraft arrived at Eielson from the Fairchild-Republic factory in Hagerstown, Md. The aircraft tail numbers were 80-221 and 80-222 ... the first two A-10s assigned to Eielson. 

However, not long after arriving, 80-221 was repainted in an arctic camouflage scheme. This was done as an experiment for an upcoming exercise titled Operation Cool Snow Hog. 

The exercise was held from March 8 to 16, 1982, at a forward operating location in Kotzebue, Alaska. 

Cool Snow Hog represented the Air Force's first test of forward basing A-10s in Alaska. Overall, the plan called for the Air Force to fly 16 close-air-support sorties in support of the 3rd Scout Battalion of the Alaska Army National Guard. 

Over the following years, the forward operating location concept was tested through various operational readiness exercises and major joint forces exercises such as BRIM FROST, but they were never again referred to as Cool Snow Hog exercises. 

It must be noted that this paint scheme was only an experiment. The Air Force never fully adopted the scheme, thus A-10s never flew operationally long-term in the arctic scheme.
There are a few sources that mention an upwards of three additional A-10s were painted this way however, official documentation has yet to be discovered to verify this information. Nevertheless, the Hogs sure looked good. 

Robert "Combat Bob" Cologie contributed to this article.