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Blue Angels to headline 2007 Star Spangled Salute

Tinker Air Force Base Okla. -- Confirmation of a premier military jet team, new dates and the addition of a new community partner were among several major Star Spangled Salute announcements made here Dec. 11, 2006.

Col. Mark Correll, 72nd Air Base Wing and installation commander, made the announcements during a press conference at Tinker Base Operations.

"I am extremely excited to announce that the U.S. Navy Blue Angels will be the featured jet team at the 2007 Star Spangled Salute," said Col. Correll. "We also have a commitment from the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team."

The colonel said this year's show will be held June 9-10 and that Aerospace America joins the Eastern Oklahoma County Tourism Council as a community partner for the event.

"Aerospace America's experience with air show organization, combined with the Eastern Oklahoma County Tourism Council's tradition of excellence in everything they do will help make this one of the premier aviation events in the nation," said Col. Correll.

The commander stressed that the assistance provided by these community partners is indicative of the type of support Tinker has received from its Oklahoma neighbors for more than six decades.

"I am continually amazed at the unwavering support Tinker enjoys," said the colonel. "That's why I am also excited to announce that this year's air show is being recognized as an official Oklahoma Centennial event."

The air show is also recognized as a 60th Anniversary of the Air Force event and also salutes the 30th Anniversary of the E-3 AWACS.

The early June dates are a shift from the traditional Fourth of July scheduling for previous Star Spangled Salutes.

"Changing the date allowed us to get the Blue Angels," said Lt. Col. Lorn Heyne, Star Spangled Salute director. "Moving away from the Independence Day holiday will also provide us with better opportunities to attract more static display aircraft."

In addition to the Star Spangled Salute air show, several associated events designed to recognize Oklahoma's proud aviation history and patriotic spirit are being planned as part of a week-long Star Spangled Centennial Salute.

These events are being coordinated by Aerospace America and the Eastern Oklahoma County Tourism Council. Some of the planned events include an astronaut luncheon, special downtown concert, a rowing competition and military appreciation day at a major sporting venue.

The two-day event will feature a variety of military and civilian aerial demonstrations, ground entertainment such as the Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team and kids' activity area, explained Col. Heyne. The Saturday portion of the air show will also include a performance by Tops in Blue, a celebrity concert and fireworks display.

"More details will be announced as they become available," said Col. Heyne. "However, I think it is safe to say that this is shaping up to be the biggest and best Star Spangled Salute to date."

For more information, check out the Star Spangled Salute Web page at www.tinker.af.mil or the Aerospace America web site at www.aerospaceokc.com.

(December 15, 2006)