JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. —
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst opened its gates at the 2018 Power in the Pines Open House and Air Show here May 5 and 6.
Power in the Pines is a biennial event that allows tax payers an opportunity to see the installation and better understand what service members do every day.
“The air show is incredibly important for us,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Neil Richardson, Joint Base MDL and 87th Air Base Wing commander. “It tells our story to the local community. They are great partners and it’s always good for them to understand what we do and to see their armed services, understand their equipment and the capabilities we have.”
With the 2016 show attracting 350,000 attendees, planning and security began almost immediately.
“It’s great to have them come in and see our base and to see what we do here every day,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jeffery Ulmer, 305th Operations Support Squadron instructor pilot and 2018 air show director. “Building that trust and relationship is important, and it’s a great way to say thanks to our community.”
Once through the gates, guests were able to experience more than 50 static displays of aircraft and armored vehicles from all five branches of the U.S. armed forces. Additionally, there were 13 aerial events including an international ally, the Royal Canadian Air Force’s CF-18 Hornet.
The U.S. Army’s Golden Knights demonstration opened up the ceremony, where jumpers carried U.S. and Canadian flags during their national anthems.
Spectators saw classic aircraft such as the P-51 Mustang and the B-25 Mitchell perform aerial acrobatics and an aerial refueling demo was done with C-17 Globemaster III and a KC-10 Extender highlighting the rapid global mobility assets of Air Mobility Command.
More modern demos were performed by the RCAF CF-18 Hornet and the Air Combat Command F-22 Raptor demo teams who wowed the crowds with their high-speed approaches, roaring engines and flaming afterburners, showcasing the latest technology in stealth aviation.
The 2018 open house also included some premier acts such as the Trojan Thunder team featuring six T-28 Trojans and the Aftershock Jet Fire Truck.
For some of the audience members, it was their first time on a military installation and their experience left a lasting impression.
“We heard about the air show for many years but never had the opportunity to attend,” said Jake Tikhmer, an audience member who took his daughter for her birthday. “Watching the fighter jets was cool, hearing those loud and roaring sounds. We will come back, and I think we’re going to make it a tradition.”
Others were impressed with the planning and logistics of the event, lauding the open house as “amazing.”
“I don’t think it could have been any better,” said Robert Kumoji, who has been coming to the open house for years. “Everything’s been addressed – security concerns, vendors, it’s just been fantastic.”
Now that the 2018 show is over, MDL personnel will begin to prepare for the next open house and air show slated for 2020.
“This year was a wonderful show. I have seen looks of people in awe, people who are hopeful and people who are envious and want to join this family,” said Richardson. “Today I heard a lot of ‘how can I do some of these things I’ve seen?’ It is very encouraging to me and I cannot wait to see what the show in 2020 brings.”