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NEWS | April 28, 2018

JB CHS Air Expo draws 80,000 attendees

By Airman 1st Class Helena B. Owens Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

More than 80,000 people attended the 2018 Joint Base Charleston Air and Space Expo April 28. This was the first time Joint Base Charleston has held an air show since 2011.

The expo offered more than 50 demonstrations and displays ranging from Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics activities to World War II static display aircraft and aerial demonstration performances highlighting the F-16 Fighting Falcon, C-17 Globemaster III, F-86 Sabre and more.

“The community is always supportive of what we do, so we owe it to them to show what role Joint Base Charleston plays in supporting strategic military objectives.” said Lt. Col. Francisco Flores, 2018 Joint Base Charleston Air and Space Expo director.

Some of the performance groups included Prowlers of the Pacific, Bill Stein, Gary Ward and more. The AeroShell Aerobatics Team headlined the event, wrapping up the full-day show.

“We perform at air shows to keep the history alive flying World War II aircraft,” said Bryan Reagan, AeroShell Aerobatic Team pilot. “The best part is having the opportunity to showcase the skills we have worked so hard to obtain.”

The U.S. Army Special Operations Command Black Daggers Parachute Demonstration Detachment kicked off the event by jumping out of a Joint Base Charleston C-17. The team jumped at 8,000 feet going 120 mph.

“We are here to interact with and perform for the crowd,” said Sgt. 1st Class Sean O’Toole, U.S. Army Special Operations Command Black Daggers parachute jump-man. “It’s an absolute honor to interact with the local community, not only to say thanks to the veterans who paved the way and pay homage to them, but also to get to interact with the younger community.”

On the ground, the static displays included crew members to educate attendees about the various aircraft and their missions across the Department of Defense. The displays included WWII aircraft, fighter jets, cargo aircraft, military vehicles and more.

“There are so many important missions and capabilities that the military has,” said Bill Yarborough, an attendee of the Air Expo. “As a community member, I get to come out and see some of the things my tax dollars go to.”

The U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team performed various drill movements during the show and featured an enlistment ceremony for 30 individuals joining the Air Force.

“It’s exciting to be able to enlist today and I’m glad to join something bigger than myself,” said Isaac Schroeck, a Charleston native who enlisted here today. “I joined to be able to have an honorable career.”

“It was very exhilarating getting to swear in at the air show,” added Gabriel Lonack, another enlistee from today’s ceremony. “I am all for serving my country. The Air Force brings an optimal future ahead for me.”

The Air Expo provided the public with a look at various military assets and missions, while strengthening community relations and educating attendees on air and space power.

“It’s important to have air shows so we can bring the general public who don’t normally have access to the base out here, so they can see the capabilities we have, ranging from aircraft to personnel,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Jeff Nelson, 628th Air Base Wing commander. “We invite them here to see what their tax dollars buy to protect our way of life.”