By Col. David Talley, Public Affairs
/ Published June 02, 2007
DOBBINS AIR RESERVE BASE, Ga., --
For those airmen with the 94th Airlift Wing who supported the "Salute the Troops" event at Stone Mountain Park, May 26-28, it was an opportunity to reminisce with veterans of all services while sharing experiences with future members of the Air Force.
More than 100,000 visitors visited the park for its annual Memorial Weekend celebration. The event centered on all veterans, but the Air Force 60th Anniversary received star billing throughout the three-day event. Whether on the performance stage or in the static display area, it was difficult to avoid hearing about the U.S. Air Force.
Mr. Robert Ornsby, a retired president of Lockheed-Martin, opened the event with a brief speech about military aviation at Lockheed-Martin and of current plans to build a museum near Dobbins Air Reserve Base. A 94th AW C-130 flew over shortly afterwards, and the event was on.
Air Force Recruiting provided an F-22 Raptor air to air video game as well as football toss for the younger kids while the Air Force Reserve Recruiting featured its jet car. A mini C-130 (Lil Bill) and mini C-17 (The Spirit of Hope, Liberty & Freedom) from the 315th AW at Charleston AFB were crowd favorites as was a 94th Security Forces Squadron equipment/weapon display.
Amid parents pushing strollers or carrying ice chests, or children just exploring, the various displays provided an opportunity for airmen with the Air Force and Air Force Reserve to share the heritage and describe the future of the Air Force.
According to Staff Sgt. Amy Ricketts, 94th Security Forces Squadron, "hands-on displays like ours give us an awesome opportunity to share with others our various roles. Besides, the kids particularly like getting to touch the equipment," she added.
Members of the Dobbins Top 3 and Chiefs Group were busy selling the AF 60th Anniversary Challenge Coin. Together, they sold more than 200 coins during the three-day event.
"They want a piece of history," said Chief Master Sgt. Joyce Scott, of the Transportation Proficiency Center, an AFRC tenant unit on Dobbins. "It's a great tribute, and an opportunity to share our history."
Maj. Robert "Flash" Light, event project officer, praised everyone for their enthusiasm which remained high despite temperatures that soared close to 98 degrees in the asphalt parking area where the Air Force static displays were.
The temperatures cooled in the evening, just in time for over 10,000 visitors resting on the lawn in front of the stage to hear the Heartland of America Band, The Notables, from Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. The group performed each evening; on Sunday it was the lead-in act for country music singer Aaron Tippin.
"Salute to the Troops" ended Monday evening with a laser light/fireworks display. The patriotic display lasted for more than one hour. But for many who attended the show, the Air Force 60th Anniversary will, hopefully, remain with them for the rest of the year and then some.