JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST — Approximately 200,000 community members poured onto the flightline for the open house and air show at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst on May 12 and 13.
The open house and air show gave the U.S. military a chance to strut its stuff by giving the general populace a small taste of its power-projection capabilities.
“Much like our joint base, this air show featured all five services’ important contributions to our country’s current missions,” said Col. John Wood, 87th Air Base Wing commander. “We were more than happy to host this event.”
Performances, which ran from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days, featured an aerial demonstration by the world famous U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. Much of the crowd seemed in awe as the line-up drew their gaze skyward for much of the day.
“I came here expecting a great show, but I was definitely impressed,” said Olivia Eckenridge, a Philadelphia native. “This was my first air show and I hope it won’t be my last.”
Each service branch had their moment in the sun with demonstrations such as the Army Golden Knights parachute team, the Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet demonstration and the Marine air ground task force demonstration.
“I’m thrilled the Navy could be highlighted during this weekend’s performances,” said Navy Capt. Andrew Butterfield, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst deputy commander. “I’m proud of my sailors for showing the attendees what the navy is all about.”
Members of the Air Force delayed enlistment program took their oath of enlistment in front of the entire air show audience before the Thunderbirds took flight during Saturday’s line up. The young men and women – who will soon leave for basic military training – will start their military careers in this unique way.
“I feel very fortunate to be given this opportunity,” said Michael Curran who will leave for BMT June 19. “This awesome air show has been made even more awesome by this experience and I can’t wait to serve my country.”
Curran’s mother was also more than enthusiastic about the events of the day. “I am so proud of my son for his decision to join the Air Force,” said Colleen. “We’ve had a great time here. I love air shows because they give civilians like me a chance to understand why the military is so important.”
The multitude of successes did not come without the combined efforts of the joint base community. Hundreds of volunteers teamed up to make this year’s event a fruitful endeavor.
“This was a large undertaking, requiring a huge amount of coordination and planning with both internal and civilian elements,” said Wood. “We definitely learned a few things during the process and we hope the next open house and air show we put on will even more of a resounding success.”