Air Force Week in the Heartland set for August

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- A once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the immense resources of the U.S. Air Force up-close and personal is planned this summer, said Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman Monday.

During a press conference here, Governor Heineman and Gen. John D.W. Corley, commander of Air Combat Command, formally identified Omaha as one of only three locations to host Air Force Weeks during 2008. The other two locations are Philadelphia on the east coast and Los Angeles on the west.

Air Force Week is an initiative which began several years ago to increase communication between the Air Force and communities through dramatic demonstrations of war fighting capabilities and showcase the Air Force heritage.

Air Force Week allows the local community to meet and interact with Air Force active duty, Reserve and Air National Guard servicemembers to increase public awareness and build new and lasting relationships, said Gen. T. Michael Moseley, Air Force chief of staff.

Air Force Week in the Heartland will take place Aug. 9-17 throughout Nebraska and Western Iowa and will allow people of all ages to experience what the Air Force has to offer through many demonstrations, displays and presentations.

"This celebration is something very special," said Governor Heineman. "Offutt and this area look forward to welcoming thousands of visitors to take part in this Air Force Week celebration. We are proud and honored to host this celebration."

The support of the community is an important part of the Air Force mission and Air Force Week hopes to open a dialogue between the Air Force and the community.

"Our purpose is to share our commitment with our fellow Americans," said General Corley. "We want to showcase our Airmen who are defending this nation. Without community support, defending our nation would not be possible. Join us and get to know your Airmen."

Although many details are still being finalized, the Air Force celebration in the Heartland kicks off Aug. 9 with a major public event in Omaha. During the week there will be numerous events throughout Nebraska and Western Iowa showcasing of Air Force power.

The action-packed week culminates in the Defenders of Freedom Open House and Air Show at Offutt Aug. 16-17. The two day event is expected to be to be the biggest open house ever hosted by the base, with more performers and static displays than ever before. The Air Force Thunderbirds aerial demonstration team will perform both days, moving their regular schedule back a little to accommodate the many Air Force demonstration teams and other aerial acts during this spectacular Air Force Week event.

Planning is well underway with military, business, education and other community leaders.

This is a joint effort between the business, civilian and Air Force communities, said Megan Lucus, Bellevue Chamber of Commerce president. "We are coming together to elevate and communicate the relationships that we have in the state of Nebraska and are very excited that the Heartland was selected for Air Force Week."

For more information, visit www.airforceweek.com or call (402) 294-4947.