MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. - Marine Corps Air Station Miramar hosted the 56th annual Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Air Show, themed “A Salute to San Diego: Birthplace of Naval Aviation 1911-2011,” on the flight line Sept. 30 through Oct. 2.
The Blue Angels, which have been the stars of the air show since the 1940s, and Fat Albert Airlines, which joined the team in 1970, returned this year as one of the popular featured performances.
Another highlight of the show was the “United States Navy Legacy Flight,” which involved today’s F/A-18 Super Hornet flying in close formation with a Grumman F-6F Hellcat, one of the primary Navy fighting aircraft in World War II.
“Aviation in the Marine Corps goes back to 1912 when Lt. Col. Alfred A. Cunningham was the first Marine aviator,” said retired Lt. Col. Jay Bibler, a retired Marine pilot. “Naval aviation was one year prior to that, and it is absolutely amazing to see what has been done with modern day aircraft and I was a tiny piece of that history back about 25 years ago when I flew F-4B Phantoms.”
The show also featured more than 100 military and civilian aircraft and vehicle displays, including many historic aircraft restored by the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum.
Bibler explained that he thinks all of the different aircraft throughout history being at the air show was inspiring and likes to share his experiences with young, aspiring future military pilots.
The Marine Air-Ground Task Force demonstration was another show highlight, which involved a simulated combat assault using different aircraft, including F/A-18 Super Hornets and AV-8B Harriers, helicopter-borne Marines rappelling, and a ground force comprised of 11th Marine Regiment and 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Marines disembarking two MV-22B Ospreys.
“I had a lot of fun doing the MAGTF demonstration, and I know the crowd loved us,” said Cpl. Ryan Thede, a radar operator with the Counter-Battery Radar section of 11th Marine Regiment, 1st MEF, and a Waterloo, Iowa, native. “It’s cool that we put all of this together and allow people to see what we do.”
The U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team and the “Shockwave” jet truck were two of several Saturday night twilight show performances during the three day event.
The twilight show also featured a firework display and ended the night with an incredible, intense inferno referred to as the “Great Wall of Fire.” The heat from this flame could be felt by the enthralled crowd as the MCAS Miramar Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team provided the special explosives effects.
MCAS Miramar has a long, rich history with the birthplace of naval aviation and is scheduled to continue this look into aviation history for years to come.