Commentary Search

Team MacDill geared up and ready for Air Fest

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Patrick Thompson
  • 2010 AirFest Director
MacDill's AirFest 2010 is just around the corner and Team MacDill is ready! On March 20th and 21st MacDill AFB will open its gates to Tampa Bay and host one of the largest military air shows in Florida. Flying demonstrations will feature current military aircraft, military war birds and civilian aerobatic performers and make MacDill AirFest 2010 one of the most exhilarating area events of the year.

This year, MacDill welcomes the U.S. Navy Blue Angels as the headlining aerial demonstration team. Expect to view precision flying, feel heart-pounding acrobatics and hear the sound of freedom - the Blue Angels do not disappoint! Not to be outdone, Air Combat Command's F-15E Strike Eagle will perform and highlight the jet's impressive dual air-to-air and air-to-ground mission.

Kicking off the show will be the 6th Air Mobility Wing's own KC-135R Stratotanker, showcasing the wing's air refueling mission. Parachutists from Special Operations Command will drop in for a Star Spangled Banner spectacular that's a guaranteed standing ovation. Later, MacDill's own Joint Communication Support Element will perform a low-level, static line parachute jump from Air Mobility Command's C-17 Globemaster. Additional performers include Lee Lauderback's P-51 Mustang, Herb Baker's T-28, John Black's Decathlon, the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation's C-54, Tom Reilly's B-25 Mitchell Bomber, Bill Leff's T-6 Texan and "Otto," an acrobatic helicopter. In addition, dozens of military aircraft and equipment will populate MacDill's ramp over the weekend. Hangar 3 and other areas will be loaded with various groups representing military organizations, local law enforcement and demonstrations from other services, like the Virtual Army Experience. As you can see, we have a great show with something for everyone, as MacDill "shows off" a little to highlight our military missions and capabilities.

How did Team MacDill make it all happen? Teamwork. AirFest 2010 would not be possible without the hard work of the men and women of MacDill AFB. Be it civil engineering, the force support squadron or the logistical team leading construction of the AirFest grounds or the static display team scheduling aircraft for the event, everyone involved in AirFest is important. A few hundred security forces augmentees and medical group personnel are instrumental in maintaining a secure and safe environment for visitors. The FSS marketing department facilitated agreements with on and off-base sponsors, and teamed with public affairs to expose AirFest to the public and media outlets.

It is easy to see that the list could go on and on. Nearly every unit on base, together with MacDill's tenant units, is involved to some extent. In most cases, those units play more than just a supporting role - they have a crucial role in the success of AirFest.

Finally, I would like to remind everyone to think: "safety." The AirFest Staff has taken measures to ensure a safe show for performers and spectators alike, but safety is everyone's business. Be vigilant at all times and report any suspicious behavior. Drink plenty of water, wear comfortable shoes and bring a hat, ear protection, sunscreen and sunglasses.

Most importantly, however, don't forget to have fun and enjoy this year's riveting AirFest! My hat goes off to the terrific men and women of Team MacDill, who have worked to make AirFest 2010 a success for all!