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