News: 'Wings Over McConnell' showcases airmen
Story by Airman 1st Class Katrina Brisbin
MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- McConnell Air Force Base opened its doors to the public for the the 2012 McConnell Open House and Air Show Sept. 29 and 30.
The air show is designed to gather and enhance the public awareness of Air Force preparedness, demonstrate modern weapon systems and capabilities, promote positive community and international relations, showcase our airmen and support Air Force recruiting and retention.
It also gives base agencies a chance to work together to produce a great show for the community. More than 1,100 volunteers from agencies base wide worked to organize set up and tear down food booths during the air show.
Approximately 100,000 people filled the flight line ramps on Saturday and Sunday to witness aerial stunts and ground displays including demonstrations by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team.
Representatives from the U.S. Air Force, Army, Marines, Navy, Air National Guard and the local flying community gathered at McConnell to display their capabilities, equipment and personnel to the local public. In addition to the 14 static displays of military aircraft, the ground show included recruiters from all branches of the military.
There were also information booths promoting local Wichita education opportunities as well as the Hero-2-Hire program by Employers' Support of Guard and Reserves which provided computer terminals where attendees could apply for jobs.
"The jets, the static displays hopefully get people to think, 'Wow, that's really neat, I'd like to be a part of that team,'" said Lt. Col. Joseph Kays, 349th Recruiting Squadron commander based at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Unlike last past air shows, the 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs Office used social media avenues to relay messages, schedules and photos quickly. McConnell's community reach broadened by approximately 1,117 new likes and followers in two days.
"I personally think that we had an outstanding open house and air show," said Lt. Col. Pamela Freeland, 2012 Wings Over McConnell Open House and Air Show director. "Overall I think the event met all five of the objectives of public awareness, weapons capabilities, positive community relations, showcasing our Airmen and promoting recruiting and retention and gave the Wichita community a family-friendly, free event to enjoy."
The next "Wings Over McConnell" Open House and Air Show is tentatively scheduled for August 2014. Also the City of Wichita will host its bi-annual Flight Festival next year.