By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Matthew Olay, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West
MIRAMAR, Calif. (NNS) -- Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar opened its gates to three-quarters of a million members of the local San Diego community Sept. 30 - Oct. 2 for the facility's annual air show.
Themed "A Salute to San Diego: Birthplace of Naval Aviation 1911 - 2011", the show focused on this year's Centennial of Naval Aviation (CoNA) by highlighting how far military aviation (specifically that of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard) has advanced during the past century.
"The Miramar Air Show is an excellent example of the Centennial of Naval Aviation. It's a tri-service celebration," said Lt. Harriet Johnson, a Naval aviator and protocol officer for the CoNA. "All three of the sea services go through the same flight training, so [this event] shows our mutual heritage and history that we've gone through."
As with each year, the air show featured a wide variety of airborne flight demonstrations from an assortment of Navy and Marine Corps aircraft, as well as demonstrations by the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team. The U.S Navy Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Team rounded out each day's performance with their signature demonstration of aerial agility, and the Marine Air-Ground Task Force provided the crowd with a dynamic ground and air pyrotechnic mock-combat demonstration.
Away from the main flight line, there were also a number of static aircraft displays for attendees to view. As this year's show commemorated the CoNA, air show organizers worked hard to bring a great deal of vintage Navy and Marine Corps planes from around the U.S. to be put on display.
"We don't have a lot of civilian aircraft out here this year, and that was by design," said Lt. Col. D.R. Lingman, MCAS Miramar's operations officer. "We wanted to illustrate 100 years of military aviation, [to honor] the people that build these great machines that we fly, and to show that this is the progression from where we were to where we're going."
For spectators like area resident Ty Phillips, the air show did not disappoint.
"It's amazing," he said. "It's my first time here, and I have to praise our military because they do an amazing job every day, and I thank them."
Johnson said that the CoNA isn't simply a military milestone.
"It's a milestone of the entire United States," she said. "The military services are all a representation of our country and of our public, so it's important to show the American public who we are, what we're doing, and to thank them for our history and heritage."