Media members witness Thunderbird refueling

  • Published
  • By Douglas Hays
  • 434 ARW Public Affairs

It was no ordinary day at work for anyone involved at Grissom— guests included.
Reporters from four television stations flew aboard a Grissom KC-135R Stratotanker to refuel the Air Force Thunderbirds.
The Thunderbirds were on their way to the Atlantic City Air Show, and Grissom crews took advantage of the opportunity to promote their own air show — The Grissom Air & Space Expo scheduled for Sept. 7-8.
“We were providing air refueling already so why not take advantage and use the mission to promote our event,” said Lt. Col. Brian Thompson, airshow director.
“I came in not knowing what to expect,” said Jordan Burrows, WLFI reporter. “I left having a better understanding and feel good about being able to share with our viewers both the mission of the base, and the upcoming air show.”
The Thunderbirds are the headlining act for the free two-day event and are joined by the Army Golden Knights.
“We have a lot of flying acts and displays,” said Col. Larry Shaw, 434th Air Refueling Wing commander. “We are the Air Force, we want people looking up.”
When necks get stiff there will be plenty of aircraft displays on the ground, including World War II aircraft to follow along the 75th Anniversary of D-Day.
“Our team has worked extremely hard to put on the best show possible,” Shaw said. “We have faced major hurdles with deployments, inspections and exercises, but we overcame all of those and will have what we think will be an awesome event for our friends and neighbors.”
The Grissom Air & Space Expo is a huge community relations event designed to educate the community on military capabilities, foster good relations and hopefully inspire future Airmen to join our ranks.
Gates open at 8:30 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. flying events start round 11 a.m., weather permitting.
“We couldn’t do this without the support of our neighbors,” Thompson said. “We’ve worked closely with local sheriff departments, state police and area emergency management agencies to ensure things go as smoothly as possible getting to the show and leaving.”
“When it is all said and done, I want people to walk away saying ‘wow that was cool, when are they doing it again?’” Thompson said.
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