Forging the air show; 2017 Airpower Over Altus

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Oklahoma -- Air shows and open houses are a tool the U.S. Air Force uses to show mission capabilities, extend recruitment, boost retention and honor veterans. As much as it reflects the Air Force history, it also highlights the host base’s mission and its members. 

The scheduled 2017 Airpower Over Altus Air Show is set to showcase the 97th Air Mobility Wing and the Air Mobility Training Center. Nearly every squadron on base is putting an effort into the air show to illustrate what Altus Air Force Base and the Air Force does.

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Members of the 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron and the 97th Civil Engineer Squadron carry signs from the Tinker Air Force Base Air Show for the Altus Air Force Base Air Show, July 27, 2017, at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma. Air shows are a tool the U.S. Air Force uses to show mission capabilities, enhance recruitment, boost retention and honor veterans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cody Dowell/Released)
Photo Forging the air show; 2017 Airpower Over Altus
Members of the 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron and the 97th Civil Engineer Squadron carry signs from the Tinker Air Force Base Air Show for the Altus Air Force Base Air Show, July 27, 2017, at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma. Air shows are a tool the U.S. Air Force uses to show mission capabilities, enhance recruitment, boost retention and honor veterans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cody Dowell/Released)

“There are going to be various preforming acts and static displays from military and civilian aircraft,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. J.D. Shaw, 58th Airlift Squadron air operations director. “This will showcase the Air Force’s and our base’s capacity to the local community. There will be acts that have one or more aircraft flying at once throughout the event. After the acts are done, they will be stationary and should be available for closer viewing.”

Approximately, 21 military and civilian acts will perform at the air show and 15 different types of aircraft will be on display. The air show would not be possible without the efforts of multiple squadrons assisting behind the scenes.

“There is a lot that goes to setting up an air show,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Mikel Davis, 97th Civil Engineer Squadron NCO in charge of requirements and optimization. “We are assisting with security barriers, misting stations (cooling zones), drinking water, tents, trash and portable toilets. Some of these seem like every day commodities, but without them it would be hard to enjoy the experience this base is trying to provide.”

Having immediate access to basic needs is critical to any large-scale event. Tackling the essentials of the air show is not solely done by the 97th CES.

“The 97th Force Support Squadron’s job is to support the members on base and with the air show, we are just doing that on a bigger level,” said Amanda Atwood, 97th FSS purchasing agent. “We have arranged multiple food and souvenir vendors during the air show. There is going to be a children zone for kids to play at, allowing everyone an opportunity to enjoy the air show. The end goal is for the local community to see what the members of the Mighty 97th’s daily life is and what is available for them.”

Providing a fun, smooth experience at the Altus AFB air show is half of the job for the base. Safety is key in an event this large and several agencies are dedicated to looking out for the wellness of everyone in attendance.

“It’s going to be hot during the air show,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Adam Strand, 97th Medical Group flight surgeon. “The air show will have water available thought the area, but that doesn’t ensure that people are drinking enough. The medical team will also have an air-conditioned tent available for assisting people who are dehydrated and those who have any other medical related problems.”

“In the event that people are injured, we have to be ready,” said Strand. “Altus is a small area that’s going to have a lot of people coming for the airshow. I am confident with the base’s ability to help the community in any scenario.”  

The 97th MDG also works with the 97th Security Forces Squadron and the 97th CES for emergency response services.

Graphic Forging the air show; 2017 Airpower Over Altus
The 2017 Airpower Over Altus Air Show is set to showcase the 97th Air Mobility Wing and the Air Mobility Training Center. Air shows are a tool the U.S. Air Force uses to show mission capabilities, enhance recruitment, boost retention and honor veterans (U.S. Air Force graphic by Senior Airman Megan Myhre/Released)

“The air show will be like any other time for the defenders,” said Tech. Sgt. Justin Carpenter, 97th SFS NCO in charge of operations. “They will be looking for security threats and focusing on the safety of the event so everyone can enjoy it. In the case of needing emergency responders, they will be prepared for whatever comes their way. We will work with the other responders like medical and the fire department to make sure that everyone is safe.”

The safety of the guests takes priority while they are in the Mighty 97th’s hands. Giving them a better understanding of the Air Force mission and why Altus AFB is here.

“We plan on just entertaining and informing the local community for a few hours on what we do in the Air Force and at this base,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Jordan Kemp, 56th Air Refueling Squadron tactics flight manager. “While having a safe and hospitable environment that has the capacity for all of the incoming populace and aircraft.”

The 2017 Altus AFB Air Show is scheduled September 9, 2017 from 11a.m. to 4:30 p.m. This air show will was put together by the effort of almost every squadron on base to give the local area a better understanding of what the Air Force and Altus AFB does.