Sun, Nov 20, 2005
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
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.
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