I have greatly enjoyed photographing the wildflowers and other spring appearances here on campus but I have been feeling more and more a need to get to another topic…to get off of the trails as it were.  Then I learned that there was to be an airshow at the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst last weekend so we drove over and  joined a couple hundred thousand others there.  It was exciting and fun.

Thirty years apart.

Shortly after arrival these late 1930’s  SNJ-2’s split the sky above the tail of a 1969-design C-5 Galaxy transport.  A good contrast with which to begin.

Here’s that C-5 Galaxy, about the width of my living room and arranged for a walk-thru.  One apparently carries one’s own baggage aboard.

There were thousands who came out for the excitement.  I was impressed with how well base personnel handled the traffic to the parking lots.  I was sobered by the body scanning station backed up by men carrying automatic weapons at port arms, and with side arms strapped to their thighs. 

You were there, too? I didn’t see you.

Then we had a show of smoke-trailed aerial acrobatics by the SNJ-2’s.  The group calls itself the Sky-typers.

Yet another group, this time  circa 1950 T-28 trainers,  entertained us with acrobatics and pseudo dogfights.

I had thought I’d be disadvantaged since I didn’t have my 400mm telephoto with me.  I saw a couple in use but I decided that my 105mm worked fine, enhanced at times with some cropping.

The air activity also included some frightening passes by F-18s and a B-1, as well as marine paratroopers launched from one of those C-5 Galaxies, and some helicoptered troop insertions.  In addition there was a lot to see on the ground including this WWII star, the B-25.  Sixteen of these were launched from the USS Hornet to bomb Tokoyo in April, 1942.  This was largely a propaganda gesture but an important one.  As only President Roosevelt could do, he glibly referred to the attack as having been launched from Shangri-La.

I was also able to tell an Army Air Corps historian at the show about the time one of these crashed on the beach in Margate in June 1942.  We ten year-olds scoured it for souvenirs before the army arrived.  (I think my 50 caliber machine gun went in last fall’s estate sale.)

The day’s finale was a magnificent, stirring performance by the U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbirds, presently flying F-18’s.  Words and still shots fail.

It was a great day to celebrate our armed forces.  It was inspiring and encouraging.  I enjoyed flash-backs to my navy days.  I was proud to have been a part of it then, and proud of, and grateful for,  our service people today.

Si vis pacem, para bellum

(If you want peace, prepare for war.)

Attributed to the 4th or 5th century Roman writer, Vegetius


  1. Ken Curtis Says:

    Wonderful shots, Ralph. You did a great job.

  2. Jo Walter Says:

    Great shots Ralph!

  3. Kirsten Sessinger Says:

    Hiya Dad. These pictures are fabulous. Most certainly, this must of been an astounding and outstounding experience! For getting off the ‘trails’ you picked a good one to do! Wow…I completely enjoy the text that comes with every blog you post up. I would of never known that you had the experience of one of these planes crashing on your beach as a kid. That deserves another, Wow…
    Great work Dad!

  4. John Costello Says:

    Good work Ralph. I especially like the first and the fourth.

  5. John Giatropoulos Says:

    Fantastic pics – especially impressed with the detail you achieved in the vapor trails
    And your narrative was great!
    Atlantic City has an airshow sometime this summer

    • Ralph Berglund Says:

      Thanks, John, and thanks for the heads-up in re the A.C show. Friends of mine have watched that freom their boats off the beach in years past and hear it’s pretty dramatic.

  6. denisebushphoto Says:

    These are great Ralph! Have you thought about being a photojournalist when you grow up? I think you’d be good at it! Judges love these kind of photos. My favorite is the 4th one down with the curly exhaust.

  7. MikeP Says:

    Love the opening shot of old and new. Growing up on base and going to countless air shows, this brings back fond memories of having both a father and mother in the Navy. Many of us take our service members for granted…it is why we have what we do…. thanks Ralph.

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