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Airmen, aircraft showcase wing capabilities during air show

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shane Dunaway
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Airmen throughout the wing banded together during the Team Andersen Air Show '09 held Oct. 7 here held to showcase 36th Wing capabilities to more than 20,000 local community members. 

The air show was originally cancelled due to tropical storm Melor, but wing leadership rescheduled the air show, giving Guam the gift of the U.S. Air Force's premier aerial demonstration team, the Thunderbirds. 

"I wanted to let everyone know the Thunderbirds are back!" exclaimed Brig. Gen. Phil Ruhlman, 36th Wing commander, in his opening statement to local media members during a press conference Oct. 6 on the flightline. 

The Thunderbirds arrived here Oct. 5 to headline the air show. The Thunderbirds were formed in 1953 and have been performing air shows worldwide for more than five decades. 

"[Seeing the Thunderbirds] makes me want to be a pilot," said Cherish Cruz, a resident of Yigo, Guam, who attended the half-day festivities. 

Though the Thunderbirds were the star attraction at the air show, they weren't the only aircraft to take to the skies. The air show featured a B-52 Stratofortress fly-by, a C-17 Globemaster III aerial demo and a joint demo featuring a Navy MH-60 Knighthawk and members of the 554th RED HORSE Squadron. 

Andersen's flightline was also peppered with several aircraft static displays - a KC-135 Stratotanker, a C-17 Globemaster III and F-22 Raptors, the Air Force's benchmark for fighter aircraft. 

Seeing the aircraft, especially the F-22 up close delighted Ray Santos, a local firefighter, and his eight-year-old son, R.J., who was attending his very first air show. 

"We were very happy to be afforded the opportunity to come on base, [view] the aircraft and even get underneath it," Mr. Santos said. "It's not every day that you hide from the rain underneath the wing of a C-17. It was a big experience for the two of us. He saw [the F-22] in the movie Transformers. Now he gets to look at it from twenty feet away." 

While the aircraft in the air and on the ground garnered the most attention, Airmen from other squadrons played visible roles. Some Airmen sold T-shirts or food in support of their squadron booster clubs while others showcased Andersen's non-aerial capabilities in demonstrations and displays, including the military working dog handlers and the 644th Combat Communications Squadron. 

"The public generally thinks of the Air Force as a bunch of people who fly planes when in fact we do a lot more," said Senior Airman Seth Runyon, 644th CBCS network technician. "One of those aspects is being able to provide communications anywhere in the world. It's great to show the community the other things the Air Force can do, especially the people in Combat Comm."