What: Guardians of Freedom Air Show and Open House
When: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Where: Sheppard Air Force Base. Please use the Missile Gate if you do not hold a DoD ID. Those who have DoD ID holders should use the Hospital Gate.
Anticipation’s been building for the Guardians of Freedom Air Show and Open House at Sheppard Air Force Base to be held 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday. The most recent airshow was in 2016 for the Base’s 75th anniversary.
In addition to the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, the U.S. Air Force Wings of Blue Jump (parachute) Team, and F-22 Raptor Demo Team, there will be numerous activities to watch, aircraft to appreciate in the Static Air Display and Heritage aircraft display, as well as simulators that show training for U.S. Air Force pilots and maintainers. There will also be food opportunities and a kid zone of fun activities.
The program will basically be the same both days, said Lt. Col. Wendy Enderle, the 2019 Air Show director as well as deputy commander of the 982nd Training Group at SAFB. “Really the only difference between the two program will be a B-2 Stealth bomber flyby on Saturday.”
The opening ceremony for the air show will be at approximately 11:30 a.m. and a narrator will let the crowd know live what is happening. The air show will end each day with the Thunderbirds at 3:30 p.m. “We expect the B-2 most likely near the end of show on Saturday.”
There will also be flights by older aircraft such as a B-29, a T-37, a Mig-17 and a T-28b Trojan.
Enderle strongly recommended that guests bring their own hearing protection because the air show will be loud. “If we have any extras, we will share with the public.”
Non DOD ID holders should use the Missile Gate entry to Sheppard, while those who do have ID’s should enter and exit SAFB through the Hospital Gate.
There will be designated spots for visitors to park, and a continuous loop of busses running from parking areas to drop guests off at the two main entry points to the air show grounds.
Guests are allowed to bring small purses, cameras, video cameras, strollers, wagons, folding chairs and small paper bags to the air show grounds. “Bags, strollers and wagons will be hand searched,” she said.
No backpacks, coolers or large tote bags are allowed at the airshow. “People can leave them in the vehicle and can come and go as they please, but must go through security they enter the airshow grounds.”
Also, no bikes, pets, firearms, knives, drones, or alcohol is permitted. A complete list of what is and is not permitted is at www.Sheppardairshow.info
The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly the popular F-16 jets, while the F22 Raptor Demo Team will fly the Air Force’s second newest fighter aircraft. The F-22’s will also pair with a P-51 for a heritage flight. The Air Force’s newest fighter, the F-35, will be on display on the ground.
Enderle was not sure how many parachutists will take part in the Wings of Blue Jump Team and drop from a C-130. They will display an American flag and a number of colors. “I am really looking forward to these acts. There are several I have never seen in person.”
The static air display will feature T-38’s and T-6’s that student pilots train on at SAFB, as well as an F-16 and F-15. There will also be a C-130, a KC-135 Stratotanker, a C-17 Globemaster III, and an AC-130 gunship among others. There will be guides to talk about the aircraft. The largest will be the C-17, she said.
A tent with simulators will show guests what maintainers and pilots do on a daily basis for the Air Force. “Every aircraft maintainer in the Air Force comes through SAFB at some point of their career, enlisted and officers,” she said.
There will be a hanger with a heritage display of planes such as the P-51, the C-47 and the B-29, as well as The Hanger for Air Force recruiting.
The open house will also include a kid zone with plenty of activities including slides and bounce houses. There will be plenty of food concession areas, as well as a beer garden.
“This is such a good way to expose the public to what the Air Force does, and it’s good recruiting opportunity for younger people to see opportunities available in the Air Force. It’s also a way for SAFB to thank the community for all of their support.
“We are really excited to show off Sheppard.”