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51st Annual MCAS Yuma Airshow called a success despite lower attendance
Despite a low turnout, which registered the lowest it has in recent years, officials at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma are pleased with this year’s 51st Annual Air Show and Open House, saying it was still a success in the eyes of the organizers.
Senior officials aboard MCAS Yuma said an estimated 25,000 watched Saturday's air show, which honored Korean and Vietnam War Veterans. That attendance figure, however, is far lower than the 60,000 spectators who attended the event in 2012.
“The response of the local community and the visitors to the air show was overwhelmingly positive,” stated the MCAS Yuma 2013 Airshow Director and station Operations Director, Lt. Col. John Hicks. “While it's true that we were missing the United States Air Force participants to the event this year due to the sequester, I think that the impact to the average visitor was more than likely defined by better access to the static display aircraft that were able to make it here. I personally interacted with hundreds of people visiting the show on Saturday and I think that this event probably strengthened our already healthy relationship with the community of Yuma County and Southwest Arizona overall.”
While it is difficult to say why the attendance dropped so sharply, one factor may have been concerns from the community over whether the air show would be cancelled due to sequestration. Another set back may have been the last minute cancellation of the Air Force's lead performance team, the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors.
Despite these setbacks, officials at MCAS Yuma say they felt the air show still received tremendous community support and they were proud to witness the amount of patriotism shown toward the Korean and Vietnam War Veterans, the aerial performers, static display personnel and uniformed service members.
For the first time during an air show, the F-35B was on display, which included personnel with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, who spoke with attendees about the world's first operational F-35B Lightning II squadron.
Spectators were also captivated by the world's only remaining operational B-29, many of them posing near the aircraft in order to take away a slice of military history.
With 2013 as his sixth air show, Greg McShane, the MCAS Yuma Airshow coordinator, was proud of the air station personnel who made the day a success and the overall partnership between the City of Yuma and the air station.
“In my opinion, this year's air show definitely achieved its goal of continuing to enhance community relations with our neighboring communities,” stated McShane. “By opening our gates to the public and delivering a free, world-class air show in Yuma, this event is just one way to extend our sincere thanks to the Yuma citizens for their unfailing support to the air station year-round. This air show also allowed us to continue to educate the community on the mission of Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, as a whole. Our key highlights included being able to successfully recognize and honor our Korean and Vietnam veterans as well as our aerial and static displays that specifically paid tribute to these deserving individuals.”
Officials at MCAS Yuma thanked the city and county of Yuma for its outstanding support to the air show, the hundreds of community volunteers who assisted as well as the thousands of visitors for taking time to meet some of the men and women serving in the Armed Forces today.
Additionally, MCAS Yuma officials said they appreciated the selfless service offered by over 10 local Korean and Vietnam War veterans as a part of the Veterans Display Pavilion, which included vintage aviation and ground equipment from both eras.