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Awesome crowds, stellar weather highlight ‘showcase’ event

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Melissa Estevez
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

After almost two years of preparation and a century in the making, Scott Air Force Base celebrated its 100 years of service with the 2017 Centennial Airshow and Open House June 10-11.

“I think the air show was not only an exciting way to commemorate 100 years of service at Scott AFB, but also a great opportunity to give something back to the community that supports us so well,” said Senior Airman Steven Ambrosini, 375th Contracting Squadron and airshow volunteer. “I take pride in participating in such an excellent event.”

Spectators, who came from a variety of states, viewed 13 aircraft performers and 50 ground displays. The airshow and open house highlighted not only Scott’s history and United States Air Force airpower, but also the capabilities of all our military services.

One of the highlights was the display of a historical aircraft that has rich ties to this region as well as the beginnings of flight, the Curtiss JN-4D “Jenny,” which also celebrated its 100-year anniversary this year.

The very first mission of Scott Field was to train pilots and mechanics. At first, they used Standard Trainers, and then the Curtiss JN-4D “Jenny.” Flight training in these early aircraft, which were made of wood, fabric, and wire, could be very dangerous. More than ninety percent of American pilots trained during the WWI received their primary instruction on the Jenny.

During the two-day celebration, more than 100 people enlisted into the Air Force, 10 Airmen re-enlisted, and a couple recognitions were done with the help of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

“I felt so lucky to be given the chance to stand there next to them while giving my oath, especially for my first reenlistment,” said Senior Airman Ronald Aprea, 375th Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician. “It was definitely a special feeling that I will always remember.”

Brad Thompson, former Major League Baseball St. Louis Cardinals pitcher, flew in an F-16 Fighting Falcon with the U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbirds aerial demonstration team. He was selected as the USAF Thunderbirds’ “Hometown Hero” representative for his longtime dedication to the St. Louis area.

“I grew-up in Las Vegas near Nellis Air Force Base and I got a chance to see the Thunderbirds as a young kid,” said Thompson. “I never dreamt about having a chance to go up in one.”

Over 1,000 volunteers, both military and civilian, helped make the air show a success. More than 300 medical personnel, 117 firefighters and almost 400 security officers made sure that the airshow was safe and prepared for the unexpected.

 “It takes dedicated professionals from all Air Force Specialty Codes to make the show a success, and I have had a team of (more than 80) Airmen making sure of that,” said Maj. Marc Meier, airshow director. “It was an absolute honor to lead such an excellent team.”