|One comes to this point well after passing through security.|
Upon taking the first exit to the air force base I soon found myself in a slow moving traffic jam. By the time I got to where I could see the entry to the base I could see that gaining entry would take a lot of time.
I decided to bail, and headed north.
Soon I found myself at the Missile Avenue entry to the base, with that entry not being too jammed by traffic.
And so I reversed my decision to bail.
Methinks the number of attendees overwhelmed today's expected estimate. I somehow found myself directed to parking just across the street from one of the security entry points. Others, arriving earlier, and later, were directed to distant parking lots and bused to the security entry points. During the halftime half hour intermission I exited security to return to my vehicle to find a line of hundreds of people waiting to get through security. The air force security guys were seeming a bit frantic, opening up extra lines to get people through.
Getting through security was slightly simpler than airport security. One was not required to remove ones shoes.
I have been to several air shows over the years. All in Washington. At the Whidbey Island Naval Base, Paine Field in Everett and Boeing Field in Seattle.
The Sheppard Air Force Base Air Show was unlike any I have been to previous.
As in this was a show. A narrated show. An entertaining narrated show.
A speaker system the likes of which I've never previously heard, was heard, no matter where one was, as one walked among the planes and people. The show started with that which you see above. A parachuter jumped from a plane whilst another plane created a circle of smoke, while the Star Spangled Banner played, with nary a single kneeler to be seen.
The airfield had plenty of grassy locations upon which to sit. I did not avail myself of that sitting opportunity, due to recent rains having left the ground a bit damp. But many others seemed not to mind the dampness.
The above photo was taken before the Air Show began, sometime past 11am. The crowd steadily grew thicker, til eventually little grass could be seen. I was told the above plane was a bomber of the B1 or B2 variety. Years ago I remember seeing America's new bomber up close at Boeing Field. That bomber did not look like the bomber I saw today. Then again, it's been a few years and my memory fades.
Above I am under the shade of the wing of the aforementioned B1 or B2 Bomber. As you can see the crowd has grown. I do not remember what the narrator was directing us to look at at this point in time.
And then we get to, what for me, was the highlight of what I saw of the show, prior to bailing, due to exhaustion, both from too much time vertical and too much heat.
The highlight was called Tora Tora Tora. A re-enactment of the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor by the Imperial Japanese Navy on December 7, 1941.
I was checking out some of the planes on the tarmac when I looked up and remarked that those planes look like World War II type planes, flying in formation. So, we headed back to the main show zone where I soon found myself witnessing the Japanese sneak attack.
The narration of the attack was well done, and ended with Franklin Roosevelt's famous Date with Infamy speech, declaring America's entry into World War II. I did not keep the video running long enough to get to the FDR part, that would have made for a video too long. But the video I did take does give you a good idea of how well done was the Sheppard Air Force Base Open House Air Show.
The Tora Tora Tora attack was so pyrotechnic that when it was over the Sheppard Air For Base Firefighters had to rush out onto the field to put out the various wildfires that had sprouted in the wake of the attack.
And now the aforementioned video....