Saturday, May 23, 2015

SJAFB Air Show 2015

Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, North Carolina feels just a little like home to me.  Since my dad was officially retired by the time they adopted me, I am not an official military brat.  I guess I am just a retired military brat.  Haha!  My dad served his last years stationed at this base and then continued to live in the area after retirement because it was home to his wife's family.  Seymour Johnson is definitely the heart of this town, but for most residents of the town, this air show is one of their few opportunities to actually visit the base.  Sadly, I didn't go to the air show very often when I was a child because my parents just were not keen on being outside in the heat and doing a lot of walking.  We were usually on base most Saturday mornings using the commissary and base exchange for our weekly shopping.  I loved going shopping here because it seemed to have everything a kid could ever want.  The government definitely makes its military bases very comfortable for its service members and families.  The grounds are usually beautifully kept too.  I also spent summers in summer camps on base going swimming and having lots of fun.  They have lots of sports and recreational activities.  My dad utilized the golf course a lot, and we all enjoyed dining out at the NCO club.  We visited friends who still lived on the base, and I thought base housing was just the neatest place to live.  I lived in the country with few neighbors and even fewer kids my age so I loved the idea of living in a neighborhood like the ones on base.  Since Eddie and I got married and had kids, we have planned to take our kids to see this air show.  We did take Evan with his Papa and Nana to visit the base and see some of the planes that are always on display a few years ago, but we knew the air show would be really exciting.  Charlotte just always seemed to be a little too far away at this time of the year for a visit since Evan has been involved in baseball and had games on the weekend.  Now that we live considerably closer, we made the hour drive east last weekend to enjoy the show.  Evan is really into planes and jets lately since we visited the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum last Spring, and he started collecting diecast metal planes.  He had developed this fascination with the Navy because of its planes that land on aircraft carriers, but I think he really enjoyed this opportunity and now has a deeper appreciation for the Air Force.
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First, the boys climbed up to see the A-10 Warthog.  This is one tough looking fighter plane with its painted face and gun sticking out of its mouth.   Mattox stayed cool under the plane while we waited. 

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We saw the bottom plane in action which is a training aircraft for Air force pilots. 
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The photo at the top left is a Navy fighter plane.  The top right picture shows how the boys and I stayed cool.  It was a pretty warm day but feels at least 20 degrees hotter out on the tarmac.  The only shade is under the planes so everyone tries to camp out under them to watch the show.  The bottom plane is the Boeing E-3 Sentry AWACS (airborne warning and control surveillance) and is used by the USAF to provide all-weather surveillance, command, control, and communications.  It has a unique rotating radar dome above its fuselage. 
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These fighters were re-enacting an air raid attack and dropped "bombs." 

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A big C-130 takes off and then some awesome paratroopers jump from the plane. 

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Huge columns of black smoke fill the sky after the "attacks." 

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And columns of fire too! 


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These stunt planes flew upside down and did lots of tricks. 

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I wondered which one of these pilots was Gandroid and which was Shortround.  I also thought Shortround was funny and wondered if he was a big Indiana Jones fan since Shortround was his little Asian friend in Indian Jones and the Temple of Doom. 

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The highlight of the show was the USAF Thunderbirds which are like the Navy's Blue Angels. 

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The planes on the left were doing "wheelies" flying really low in front of the crowd with their noses up in the air and letting out steam.  The planes on the right were flying upside down.  My motion sickness could definitely not handle a ride in these jets.  They were also really fast and really loud! 

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Their formations were just picture perfect, and it was amazing (and scary) how close they flew together. 

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A beautiful show. 

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Brody looks so small under this plane trying to stay cool.  He actually started not feeling well that day and ran a little fever for a few days. 

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More cool stunt planes. 
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And the boys enjoyed cooling off by getting sprayed by the U.S. Air Force Firefighters. 

3 comments:

  1. Totally awesome! You know I grew up as a not official military brat too. Just another thing we have in common. My dad was active duty Navy for like 5 or 6 years and then he did 30+ years in the Naval Reserve. He was a Naval Cryptologist. Since he was in the Reserves by the time my brothers and I came around we grew up spending a lot of time on military bases, but never lived on one. We always tried to stay at the lodges on military bases on vacation. Some of them are really, really nice. And we also did a lot of shopping on base because- no taxes!

    Also, let Evan know that my cousin in a pilot in the Air Force. He graduated from the Air Force Academy and flies the F-22 Raptor, which is a stealth aircraft.

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  2. To me it sounds like you grew up as a "military brat" being able to take advantage of life on the base :) And this airshow looks like it would have been something else to see and experience.

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  3. What a fun event! I would love to take my kiddos to something like this. My dad served in the Air Force too. In fact, I was born on base. I don't really have any memories of living on base, but my older brother and sister vaguely remember living in Guam...that was before I was around. =)

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