Keelser and Biloxi delivers their first-ever joint air show

By Senior Airman Jenay Randolph 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

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The thunder has subsided and the City of Biloxi and Keesler Air Force Base can exhale after the much anticipated Thunder over the Sound: Keesler and Biloxi Air and Space Show.

This year’s headliners were none other than our very own U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. The Air Force’s premier demonstration team showcased the maximum capabilities of the F-16 Fighting Falcons with their four-jet diamond formations and inverted rolls. The show also included a myriad of other performances to include: Team Aeroshell, the Army Special Ops Black Daggers, a MiG-17 and many more.

“It was thrilling to see our civilian partners along with our active duty, guard and reserve counterparts from all over the country come together and demonstrate the aerial acts and what they bring to the national defense,” expressed Col. Debra Lovette, 81st Training Wing commander. “This joint effort allowed us [Air Force components] to interact with our community and describe to them the missions of our aircraft and what they bring to the fight. That is probably one of the biggest joys of an air show for me.”

This air show was unique in that not only was it geographically separated, but it also had over-the-water aerial performances. The aircraft static displays and some aerial and ground performances took place on base in the morning, while most of the civilian and military aerial acts took place over the beach in the afternoon. There were 14 aerial performances, 12 static displays and four ground exhibits over the two-day event.

“It has been a tremendous honor for us [the city of Biloxi] and me as the mayor to work together with what I believe is the best Air Force base in the world for this first-ever joint air show and experience this event with everyone who came out,” explained Andrew Gilich, the city of Biloxi mayor. “With the weather considered, if anything is easy then it wouldn’t be fun and it has been fun. You might have heard Mother Nature’s thunder, but in the end you heard our thunder, Thunder over the Sound.”

The two-day event became more of a one day event due to severe weather on Saturday, but overall the first-ever Keesler Biloxi air show was a success. Despite Mother Nature, approximately 85,000 experienced the roar of the various aerial acts that flew over the beach and learned more about the Air Force’s mission and heritage. 

“It was very impressive and educational,” said Biloxi native Star Ransonet. “We woke up early to come on base and view the aircraft and it was great learning about them and the history. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and it is something I will always remember.”