Air show memories

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Mark Olsen
  • 514th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
My first air show was at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona in 1967.


I remember seeing the Air Force Thunderbirds flying F-100 Super Sabre’s. I also have a great photo of me climbing out of the cockpit of an F-106 Delta Dart.

I also know, that from that point on there was no question I would join the Air Force.


Fifty-one years later, a U.S. Air Force KC-10 Extender crewed by Reserve Citizen Airmen with the 78th Air Refueling Squadron, 714th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, and the 514th Aircraft Maintenance Group, all part of the 514th Air Mobility Wing, is on display at the two-day, Nov. 3 to 4, Wings Over Homestead Air and Space Show at Homestead Air Reserve Base in Florida.

In addition, 31 Airmen with the 514th Security Forces Squadron (SFS) are helping ensure the safety of the attendees.
For many of the 514th Airmen, this is the first time they have served at an air show.


“I have never done security at an air show, so this is a good first time opportunity,” said Airman 1st Class Sean Malota, 514th SFS. “While we were here, we received some good law enforcement and security training that I can use, especially if we do security for the McGuire air show.”

Each year, there are more than 300 air shows across the United States and it is estimated that 10-12 million Americans attend them. More than 40 percent are children.


“It’s great to see the excitement in the kids eyes; they enjoy coming on to the jet and get to see the equipment," said Master Sgt. Robert Rodriguez, a KC-10 Extender boom operator with the 78th ARS.

Air shows serve a variety purposes; first and foremost, they are a celebration of America’s love of flying.


“I find it rewarding because not a lot of people know what we do and I take a lot of pride in showing people what we do and how we do it,” said Senior Airman Kyle D. Breitenbach, a KC-10 boom operator with the 78th ARS.

From touring the static aircraft displays and talking with the crews, to watching precision aerial teams like the Thunderbirds, there is no comparable experience.
With less than point five percent of America in uniform, a large portion of the public don’t even know a person defending their country.


“People appreciate what we do, what we sacrifice to serve our country,” said Rodriguez. “It’s an honor to be here.”

The shows serve as an opportunity for Americans to connect with their military and in some cases, it is their first introduction to the military.


“I wanted the attendees to see what we do,” said Tech. Sgt. Adryon Marrero-Boyd, 514th SFS.

“I like building a rapport with the public and the military,” said Tech. Sgt. Stephanie Blango, 514th SFS.


The show puts a face to the military.

Air shows also serve as demonstrations of America’s military capabilities, as well as recruiting opportunities for the services hosting or participating in them.


“I like interacting with kids and young adults that show an interest in what we do,” said Staff Sgt. Arriel K. Bromley, a KC-10 boom operator with the 78th ARS. “I get to share with them how awesome it is to be in the military, to see the things I see on a daily basis and I hope it inspires them to join one day.”

And somewhere out there in the crowd, there is a child who will be inspired by who he or she meets, or what they see at the air show, and they will end up joining the military.