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Thursday, Oct 30, 2014
Editorials

The partnership behind MacDill’s Airfest


Published:   |   Updated: March 16, 2014 at 11:32 PM

The countdown is on for this year’s “MacDill Air Force Base presents Tampa Bay AirFest 2014.” This air show promises to be action-packed and filled with great aerial acts featuring the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. Additionally, the ramp will be filled with displays from both the military and civilian aviation communities.

MacDill Air Force Base, in partnership with generous local supporters, has built a two-day show that will make you proud to be an American.

On behalf of the servicemen and women of MacDill Air Force Base and their families, I would like to thank the amazing Tampa Bay community for its support in this endeavor.

In an effort to present the best possible show while being good stewards of limited financial resources, we have teamed up with our community partners to help offset expenses. As was originally discussed in March 2013, prior to the cancellation of last year’s show, key supporters from the local community have come forward to help raise funds to fill the void caused by federal budget cuts.

When you join us for AirFest, this new support model will be transparent.

But for those of us who are charged with balancing limited resources and ensuring a world-class show for a world-class community, this help has been overwhelming, and for that we are eternally grateful.

It is important to understand that MacDill is one of only four bases in Air Mobility Command that will host an air show this year. The Department of Defense has reduced funding for air shows by almost 30 percent this year alone.

In coming years, the funding challenges will further restrict the number of events a base can host, but with the help of this incredible community and the model we’ve created this year, we hope to continue to celebrate flight for years to come.

As we prepare for the big weekend, it is important to remember what a special year 2014 is for the Tampa Bay community and aviation. In January, we celebrated the 100-year anniversary of Tony Jannus’ inaugural flight from St. Petersburg to Tampa. Also in January, MacDill Air Force Base celebrated the 20-year anniversary of the establishment of the 6th Air Mobility Wing.

Both of these events were great successes based on the enormous teamwork of the Tampa Bay community. The success of this coming weekend’s air show will once again highlight the incredible support MacDill AFB enjoys from this region every day. Thank you, and please come out and enjoy the festivities.

Col. Scott DeThomas is the commander of MacDill Air Force Base.

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