Altus aircrews participate in 2017 Naval Air Facility El Centro Airshow

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kirby Turbak
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft and U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker air refueling aircraft assigned to the 97th Air Mobility Wing left for Naval Air Facility El Centro, CA on March 10, to participate in the 2017 NAF El Centro Airshow.

The aircrews consisted of members from the 58th Airlift Squadron, 54th Air Refueling Squadron, 730th Airlift Squadron and the 97th Maintenance Directorate.

“We were at El Centro as representatives for the Air Force as well as showing off the airplanes to the civilian populace,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Jonathan Taylor, 58th AS C-17 instructor pilot. “There were roughly 50,000 people there having the opportunity to see what the military does in a hands on way.”

The aircraft were used as static displays during the airshow while the aircrews engaged with the patrons about the importance of the aircraft and Altus Air Force Base’s mission of training all U.S. Air Force C-17 and KC-135 aircrews.

“When people think about military planes they always think of [fighter] jets, but coming here you get to see these ginormous [C-17s and KC-135s] and find out what they do,” said Lindsey Rodriguez, airshow attendee. “It’s important for people to know what our military does and how important each of their missions are.”

Airshows give military members an opportunity to speak with the members of different communities and build relationships between military and non-military organizations.

“Events like these aren’t just to get people interested in flying airplanes or hoping to get people interested in the military,” said Taylor. “It’s also about getting to talk to them and show them that we’re really people and that we’re not just some enigma.”

Many of the airshow attendees left with smiles on their faces but they were not the only ones that enjoyed the event.

“We had a lot of fun. It was really cool to see all the kids come up, put them in the seats, let them play with the switches and get to talk about planes,” said Taylor. “I have to say and the whole crew will agree, that it was really rewarding for us.”