News>Open house, air show sparks inspiration in local community
Patrick Brown, a Coatsville, Pa., native, turns his gaze upward to witness some of the aerial acrobatics at the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. Open House and Air Show, May 12, 2012. Approximately 120,000 people crowded onto the base's airfield to witness aerial stunts and ground displays including demonstrations by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds F-16 Fighting Falcons and the U.S. Army Golden Knight parachute team. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Parker Gyokeres)
U.S. Army Golden Knights Jump Team Soldier with American flag attached to his parachute, descends onto the runway of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst during the opening ceremony of the Open House and Air Show May 12. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Released)
Two U.S. Marine Corps CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters from U.S. Marine Corps Air Ground Task Force, Marine Aircraft Group 49, trail behind a C-130 Hercules aircraft in a simulated refueling exercise during the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Open House and Air Show May 12. (U.S. Air Force photo by Pascual Flores/Released)
Two F-16 Fighting Falcon aircrafts from the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, perform an aerial act of precision flying during the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Open House and Air Show May 12. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Parker Gyokeres/Released)
by Airman 1st Class Ryan Throneberry
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs
5/13/2012 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst opened its doors to the public for the first day of a two-day open house and air show here May 12.
Approximately 120,000 people crowded onto the base's airfield to witness aerial stunts and ground displays including demonstrations by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds F-16 Fighting Falcons and the U.S. Army Golden Knight parachute team.
Attendees put hand to heart at the start of the show as a Golden Knight parachutist floated to the ground with the American flag streaming behind him to the tune of the nation's anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner."
"My favorite part was the golden knight demonstration," said Patrick Brown, a junior ROTC member who traveled from Coatesville, Pa., for the first open house since the merger of McGuire Air Force Base, Fort Dix and Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst in October 2009. "I've never seen anything like that before."
The myriad static displays and aerial displays reflected the now-joint base missions, representing each of the Department of Defense's branches of service as well as numerous civilian aircraft.
The show included displays such as the U.S. Coast Guard strike team, the historic DAV B-25B, FedEx Airbus, U.S. Marine CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter, U.S. Army UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, U.S. Navy C-9 and many more.
"We were so glad to come out to see all the different displays," said Sandra Kraft, wife of retired Chief Master Sgt. Andrew Kraft. "My husband spent 30 years in the Air Force and this air show was a great way for us to maintain a connection to the service."
Vendors touted their wares to the multitudes selling an array of food items and memorabilia amid a fair-like atmosphere designed to entertain both children and adults alike. Joint-base personnel joined in the festivities alongside visitors, turning their heads and pointing skyward in unison as each new demonstration flew past.
"I have to admit, the Thunderbirds did scare me because they are so loud and fast," said Daria Sbraccia, 12, from Roeling, N.J. "This was my first air show and I can't believe all the cool things I've seen here."
The crowd began to thin as the afternoon came to a close; base personnel and vendors began preparing for a pause in operations until the following and final day of JB MDL's inaugural Open House and Air Show.
"I hope it's not another four years until the next air show at JB MDL," said Dave Barrett, CBS News radio correspondent from New York City. "This was terrific. I heard stories all day from service members about why they joined. I think it's important for people to hear those stories."
5/14/2012 4:21:02 PM ET Had a great time yesterday My 4yr old loved it so much. It was our first air show thank you for the experience.