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2018 Defenders of Freedom Air and Space Show

  • Published
  • By Zachary Hada
  • 55th Wing Public Affairs

After a one-year hiatus, Offutt’s Defenders of Freedom Air and Space Show, the largest joint service air show in the Midwest, returned to the Offutt flight line, Aug. 11-12, 2018.

According to event organizers, more than 105,000 people attended the event that featured multiple aerial demonstrations as well as static aircraft displays, military working dog demonstrations and a variety of vendors and informational booths.

“Opening our gates during the air show allows us to connect with the local community and demonstrate the capabilities and air power that protects our nation,” said Maj. Hunter Horste, 55th Wing air show director. “The air show also gives us a chance to thank the local community for the support our Airmen receive every day.”

The event was co-headlined by the F-22 Raptor and F-35A Lightning II aircraft demonstration teams.

“Our headliners put on a great performance for the air show showcasing the capabilities of what fifth-generation fighters can do,” Horste said.

As fifth-generation fighters, both the F-22 and F-35 represent a leap forward in warfighting capabilities through the use of speed, stealth, integrated avionics and maneuverability.

Since 1972, the open house and air show has been a regularly-scheduled community event and is one of the few times the base is open to the public.

More than 2,000 Offutt personnel volunteered alongside members of the local community to make this year’s air show a success.

“The tremendous teamwork by installation and community personnel made this year’s airshow an amazing experience,” said Col. Michael Manion, 55th Wing commander.

On the last day of the air show, a special flag folding ceremony was performed to honor the service and sacrifice of Omaha native Lt. Jarvis Offutt who was killed in WWI during a plane crash over France 100 years ago.

The Air Force base was renamed in Offutt’s honor in 1924.

The next air show is planned for June 2019 with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, who last flew at Offutt in 2016, returning as the headlining act.