167th Airlift Wing shines during Open House, Air Show
By SSgt Sherree Grebenstein, 167th Airlift Wing
/ Published October 01, 2010
Martinsburg, WV --
It's estimated that more than 80,000 people attended the 167th Airlift Wing's two-day Open House on Labor Day Weekend 2010.
The Wing's Open House coincided with the Thunder Over the Blue Ridge Air Show featuring prestigious aerial acts both days by the United States Air Force Thunderbirds and United States Army Golden Knights Parachute Team. The United States Air Force's A-10 East Demonstration Team and the U.S. Navy's VFA-106 Gladiators also dazzled the huge crowd below with their unique flying maneuvers. Spectators were treated to civilian aerial performances by Jerry Wells, Bill Finagin, Bill Yoak, Michael Kennedy and Manfred Radius.
The largest air show ever held in the Eastern Panhandle, Thunder Over the Blue Ridge 2010 attracted visitors to the base from across the country as well as overseas. Months of planning and preparation went into the premiere event which was deemed a spectacular success by Wing leadership.
Col. Roger L. Nye, commander of the 167th Airlift Wing, noted that the Open House and Air Show allowed the public a chance to meet with Airmen who serve the community, state and nation.
"They got to see firsthand the great Airmen we have at the 167th Airlift Wing," Col. Nye said.
The commander lauded the Wing's efforts in hosting the Air Show and Open House noting that Airmen "did some amazing things."
Visitors to the event had the opportunity to view how the base has transformed during the C-5 conversion process to accommodate the massive C-5 Galaxy cargo aircraft.
"It's been five years since the base has really been open," Col Nye noted.
The Air Show and Open House presented the perfect opportunity to showcase the base and allow the public to see firsthand the $280 million in upgrades there.
"We do the nation's business," Col. Nye said of the many military missions undertaken at the base. The 167th Airlift Wing's motto is "Mountaineer Pride Worldwide."
The commander said the two-day event demonstrated the strong relationship the Wing has established with city, county and state officials.
"We are here to support the community," Col. Nye said.
Donations collected at the gates to the Air Show will benefit the United Way of the Eastern Panhandle which served as the fiscal agent for the event.
Col. Nye said the Wing will hold another Air Show and Open house next August.
"We will have another successful Air Show," he said.
And the Wing's Open House is expected to offer many of the same venues that proved popular this year.
Two of the Wing's new hangers hosted a Kids Village and the VA Medical Center's 2010 Welcome Home American Heroes Celebration during the Open House.
Ann R. Brown, director of the VA Medical Center in Martinsburg, said holding the annual event in conjunction with the 167th Airlift Wing's Open House provided a great venue for the organization. Brown said she hopes the VA can take part in future open houses hosted by the Wing.
Whether visiting the many grounded attractions or looking to the skies to take in the spectacular aerial acts, those attending the Air Show and Open House appeared impressed with the massive effort undertaken.
"The Airmen of the 167th Airlift Wing should feel proud of what they accomplished," Col. Nye noted.