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Oklahoma Wing Cadets Share Their Passion For Flight At Airshow

June 27, 2019

By: 1st Lt Brandon Lunsford, Sr, Oklahoma Wing

U.S. Navy Blue Angels flying during maneuvers at the Star Spangle Salute Air Show.
Credit: 1st Lt Brandon Lunsford, CAP, Oklahoma Wing


TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, OKLA– The June 1-2 air show saw aviation enthusiasts from all over Oklahoma and surrounding states come out to witness the Star Spangled Salute Air Show, hosted by Tinker Air Force Base and supported by the Oklahoma Wing of the Civil Air Patrol with more than 100 volunteers from across the state.

“The relationships with Tinker AFB leadership that we are able to cultivate during events like this are invaluable,” said Lt Col David McCollum, CAP. “We touch nearly every unit on the base during the air show. Whether it be through our membership on the air show committee which provides access to the air show director (who also commands the 72nd Operational Support Squadron, the airmen at the 507th Air Refueling Wing who housed us in one of their hangars, the Air Base Wing safety staff, Security Forces, Airfield Operations, and the Air Base Wing Commander himself, doors are opened to CAP as a result of our support efforts and professionalism.”

Cadet Chief Master Sergeant Logan Kuerbitz of the Oklahoma Wing, CAP handing out U.S. Navy Blue Angel pamphlets at the Star Spangle Salute Air Show.
Credit: Cadet Lt Col Bailey Lunsford, CAP, Oklahoma Wing


The weather caused delays Saturday, with massive winds and downpours that caused CAP cadets and officers to act quickly. Lt Kim Sutherland was on-hand to assist with the rush to protect the public and the aircraft at the show.

“We had to act fast,” Sutherland stated. “We quickly cleared hangars for aircraft and the general public to get into and protect them from the storm. It was quite a scene, but our response was immediate.”

Once the weather cleared, the show continued with no additional weather delays for the weekend. The highlight of the event was of course the planes. Cadet Lt Col Bailey Lunsford, CAP was excited about the aircraft.

U.S. Navy Blue Angel F/A 18 Hornets after performing at the Star Spangle Salute Air Show.
Credit: Cadet Lt Col Bailey Lunsford, CAP, Oklahoma Wing

“All of the cadets loved walking through different aircraft and talking to the pilots and crew members,” Lunsford stated. “My personal favorite was getting up close to the F/A 18 Hornet the Blue Angels fly.”

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels put on a fabulous show. Their tight formation flying stunned and amazed the crowd as they were pulled off with precision and ease, sometimes just inches apart.

Cadet Colonel Bethany Wilson, CAP added, “We are really grateful to be out here and to have the opportunity to guard the flight line and be close to the airplanes.”

This year’s airshow was not just about planes though. The planning committee wanted to be able to show off areas of vital need for the U.S. Air Force, Colonel Kenyon Bell, 72nd Air Base Wing Commander, explained.

“STEM City is a new addition to our air show; Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics,” stated Bell. “People of all ages will be able to play with robotics and drones. We’re trying to get them excited about things that are in the realm of STEM. Everybody in the military doesn’t fly planes or do those things you see on the broad spectrum. We need engineers and we need scientists. This is an opportunity to get people excited and see what kind of other opportunities might be available to them in the military if they choose to join.”

In the end, it was long hours, hot temperatures, and hard work for all involved. The experiences of aircraft rushing by at high speeds, exploring new technologies, and seeing the amazement of the public was worth every bit of the work. Lt Col McCollum, CAP was obviously very proud of the team work and effort put into this year’s show.

“Without the hard work of our cadets,” McCollum began. “We wouldn’t be able to provide the support that the air show needs. It’s a great opportunity for the cadets to gain experience leading their peers in a very dynamic environment. While there is always a plan that plan pretty well goes out the window as soon as we roll onto the flight line. The key is to be flexible while successfully and safely executing the tasks they have been given. We look to the more senior cadets to set an example and lead the other cadets. They also have the opportunity to rub shoulders with active-duty military, air show performers (including elite teams like the Blue Angels) and have the satisfaction of performing difficult tasks as part of a team. The smiles I see - tired though they may be - tell me they think the hard work is worth it.”

Click Photos or this [LINK] to access the photo gallery for the 2019 Star Spangled Salute Air Show.

Oklahoma Wing cadets in front of the U.S. Navy Blue Angel F/A 18 Hornets at the Star Spangle Salute Air Show.
Credit: 1st Lt Brandon Lunsford, CAP, Oklahoma Wing

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