Thunderbirds highlight return of Offutt Air Show

  • Published
  • By 55th Wing Public Affairs

For the first time since 2018, the Defenders of Freedom Air & Space Show returns to Offutt Air Force Base Aug. 24-25, 2024, with the U.S Air Force Thunderbirds headlining the show.

Offutt’s 2019 air show was cancelled due to a flood, while all Department of Defense air shows were cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19. The installation was also unable to host one in 2021 or 2022 because its runway was being replaced.

“We couldn’t be more excited to open our gates to our incredible community who continually goes above and beyond in their support for those in uniform,” said Col. Mark D. Howard, 55th Wing commander. “Our guests will see lethality and resilience on display and not only is hosting this event a huge honor, but also an opportunity to highlight what our men and women in uniform do on a daily basis in support of our great nation.”

The U.S. Air Force’s premier air demonstration squadron last performed at Offutt in 2018. They announced their 2024-2025 schedule at the International Council of Air Shows convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, Dec. 12, 2022.

“Hosting an air show at Offutt has been a long time coming and we are incredibly thrilled that we have the Thunderbirds as our headliner,” said Maj. Bryce Neil, Defenders of Freedom Air & Space Show director. “Over the next six to eight months we’ll be announcing more performers, but our goal is to ensure we have a little something for everyone to enjoy.”

This past weekend, the 55th Wing teamed with the 155th Air Refueling Wing to host the Guardians of Freedom Air Show at the Lincoln Airport.

“It was a great opportunity for us to get some experience on what all goes into hosting a successful air show,” Neil said. “I cannot thank the 155th’s leadership team enough for allowing us the chance to work with them, but we’ll take those lessons learned and hope to build on them not only for 2024, but for years to come.”

The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Team, the Blue Angels, were the headliners for the two-day show, which had more than 250,000 attendees.

“To have both of the premier demonstration teams in the local area two years in a row is really special,” Neil said. “But if anyone is deserving it is the Omaha and Lincoln communities. They support those in uniform like no one else.”