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Commentary: First Tinker Air Show experience doesn’t disappoint

Tinker Take Off staff writer Jacob McGuire watches from Tinker Air Force Base air traffic control tower as an F/A-18 Hornet from the Blue Angels flight demonstration team flies by at one of their demonstrations for the bi-annual Star Spangled Salute Air & Space Show. (U.S. Air Force photo/Kelly White)

Tinker Take Off staff writer Jacob McGuire watches from Tinker Air Force Base air traffic control tower as an F/A-18 Hornet from the Blue Angels flight demonstration team flies by at one of their demonstrations for the bi-annual Star Spangled Salute Air & Space Show. (U.S. Air Force photo/Kelly White)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --

Despite living in Oklahoma for most of my life, I have never been to Tinker’s bi-annual Star Spangled Salute Air & Space Show. That all changed this past weekend.

This year’s show wasn’t just a first for me, but also for my wife, Britni. We have friends, family and acquaintances that have worked or currently work at Tinker, both as civilians and military personnel. But even with that influence, the air show never made it into discussion.

Honestly, I didn’t even know about the event until I started working at the Tinker Take Off, which coincidentally is located in Tinker’s public affairs office. So I guess you could say that I didn’t have any choice but to know about it, as it has been the primary topic of discussion since I arrived in April. And I imagine it was even before that.

We decided to go on Sunday in hopes of there not being as many people, since there was a chance of storms. The funny thing is that it actually stormed Saturday, and was all clear skies Sunday. That’s Oklahoma weather for you. There ended up being record attendance for each day of the show and we were lucky to get in.

Although I have no inclination to fly, much less ride, in one of the 20 plus aircraft that were on display at this year’s air show, having the opportunity to witness their capabilities firsthand was an awe-inspiring experience.

The clock struck 1500 hrs. (or 3 p.m.), which meant it was time for the U.S. Navy Blue Angels precision flight demonstration team to strut their stuff. As the six, sleek jets took off, amazement filled the faces of the thousands of people in attendance, including myself. 

While watching the Blue Angels, who returned to Tinker AFB for the first time since 2007, I started thinking about the interview I had with Navy Lt. Cmdr. Andre Webb, Blue Angel No. 6, just days prior to the show. He told me that even though he and his fellow pilots are the ones in the sky, the approximately 100 enlisted Sailors and Marines that make up the maintenance and support team are just as important to the mission.

While we were looking at all of the static displays, which included an E-3 Sentry, B-52 Stratofortress, KC-135 Stratotanker and Navy E-6 Mercury, we easily came across the most impressive aircraft, the Rockwell B-1 Lancer.

The B-1 boasts a perfect combination of speed, altitude and payload capacity for bombs and air-to-ground missiles. With the ability to reach Mach 2 speed with the range and payload of a B-52, how can you not be impressed?

My first Tinker Star Spangled Salute Air & Space Show was unforgettable. This may be my first show, but it certainly won’t be my last.

 

Jacob McGuire is a staff writer for the Tinker Take Off. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication degree from University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in Chickasha. Jacob is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration at the University of Oklahoma. Have a story idea, or just want to talk? Don’t hesitate to reach out to him at jmcguire@journalrecord.com.