Tuesday, May 9, 2017

SC Guard Expo at McEntire Flies High

(Video of the finale simulating an airstrike in the joint air-ground operation)
(Video courtesy of Mrs. Permanent Press)

Over the weekend, our family went to the South Carolina Guard Expo at Joint National Guard Base McEntire. In addition to some civilian run airshows, I've been to two other military facilities for airshows: (1) MCAS (Marine Corps Air Station) Beaufort, and (2) Shaw AFB.

This one was the best air show events I've attended - military or civilian. Yes, the air show in Beaufort had the Blue Angels, and yes, the air show at Shaw had the Thunderbirds. While I will acknowledge that the Blue Angels performance is definitely the best stand-alone performance I've ever seen, taking the whole event into account, the air show this weekend at McEntire was the best one I've ever been to.

The event at McEntire gets top marks because they used the space so well. There were lots of picnic spaces open for relaxing, rather than feeling like you were always in a crowd. They had at least 30-50 (and even that may be a low estimate) static displays all over the place so there was always something interesting to see. They had a dedicated kids area set up with free inflatable bounce houses. Our daughter enjoyed the 246th Army Band's rendition of When the Saints Go Marching In. There were lots of food trucks so there weren't any long lines, and there were plenty of trash cans. The MPs did a good job with the traffic - it was actually the easiest in-and-out of an air show I've ever been to.

As forth the show itself, it was great. The announcer did a wonderful job of telling you all about each aircraft, giving out facts, and telling stories about the pilots that really made me just want to listen to him the whole time rather than going to the bounce house for the kids.

The even really had something for everyone -old WWII warbirds, helicopters, kids activities, modern jets, tanks - even a stinger missile demonstration where you could hold the missile launcher and simulate firing it.

In the end, you can't go wrong with a big ol' explosion for the finale.

Well done, McEntire. Well done.

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