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Sun, Nov 20, 2005

MacDill AFB Cancels AirShow... Again

The highly-regarded MacDill AFB Airshow has become the latest casualty of security issues and the ever-shrinking availability of needed resources.

According to Air Force Col. Maggie Woodward, the cancellation came about as a result of "no specific" security threats but that while security was a concern, the show would "simply require too much energy and resources" to secure the large facility (6000 acres).

Woodward noted that, "As the leadership of the base weighed the pros and cons of having the airshow, our security situation and the incredible tempo our folks have been maintaining for over a year led us to decide that it was too much to ask of the troops to hold an airshow in 2006."

MacDill Air Force Base, FL, is located eight miles south of downtown Tampa. It is an Air Mobility Command installation. The base covers about 5,700 acres at the southern tip of the Interbay Peninsula, with 1,000 acres of undeveloped and protected wetlands. The host unit, the 6th Air Mobility Wing, has a two-fold mission of air refueling and combatant commander support. The major mission partners at MacDill include U.S. Central Command, U.S. Special Operations Command, the Joint Communications Support Element and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

MacDill's Air Fest, once an annual affair, is a popular venue. It is headlined by either the USAF Thunderbirds or the USN Blue Angels, (with either team alternating for the other every other year) and drew some 350,000 people in 2005 last year and an even more impressive half-million visitors in 2004.

This is not the first interruption to this airshow program. Following 9/11, MacDill abandoned airshow programs for two years. Base spokesperson have not closed the door on bringing the show back for 2007, however.

FMI: http://public.macdill.amc.af.mil

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