Thunderbirds Returning To Ocean City Next June

Thunderbirds Returning To Ocean City Next June

OCEAN CITY – The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds this week officially announced the jet team will be returning to appear in the Ocean City Air Show in June 2014 after being grounded along with other military demonstration teams last year due to sequestration and federal budget cuts.
The Thunderbirds will headline the June 14-15 event over the skies of the resort. The Thunderbirds formally announced their 2014 performance schedule this week following the International Council of Air Shows Convention in Las Vegas last week. The Thunderbirds last performed at the Ocean City Air Show in 2012 and were scheduled to appear again last June before all military demonstration teams were grounded due to sequestration and federal budget cuts.
This fall, the Pentagon announced it was reinstating the Thunderbirds, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and other military demonstration units following the one-year hiatus. With the grounding orders lifted, the demonstration teams met in Las Vegas last week to begin patching together performance schedules for 2014 and beyond and the Thunderbirds included the Ocean City Air Show on its tour for 2014. The Ocean City Air Show in June will mark the Thunderbirds’ only performance in the mid-Atlantic region in 2014.
“We’re glad to be back,” said Thunderbirds Commander and lead pilot Lt. Col. Greg Moseley this week. “Right now, we’re focused on training. While we’re excited to know we’ll be able to tell the Air Force story on the road, we’re completely focused on ensuring we have a safe show season.”
The Thunderbirds’ announcement this week comes just one week after the Blue Angels confirmed an Ocean City Air Show stop on its schedule for 2015. The Blue Angels plan their air show stops and other appearances in a two-year cycle and the last cycle was completed in 2012, meaning their plans for 2013 and 2014 were already in the books. The Blue Angels were set to appear this June before the federal government cancelled their season.
The Thunderbirds will headline a full line-up of some of the nation’s top military and civilian performers at the Ocean City Air Show in June. Other performers already confirmed are the U.S. Army Silver Wings parachute team and the GEICO Skytypers. The rest of the line-up will be announced in the months leading up to the event.
“The OC Air Show keeps getting bigger and better thanks to the support of the town of Ocean City and the hundreds of thousands of spectators who come out to make it a success, some from as far away as New York, Ohio and the Carolinas,” said OC Air Show President Bryan Lilley this week. “We’re absolutely delighted to have both of our nation’s military jet demonstration teams committed to fly over OC over the next two years.”
The announcement of the Thunderbirds’ schedule this week, and the Blue Angels similar announcement last week, confirms the Defense Department’s renewed commitment to supporting community engagement following the shutdown. In an internal memo to military service chiefs last October, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel stressed a continuing need to reinstate and maintain the military demonstration teams.
“Community and public outreach is a crucial departmental activity that reinforces trust and confidence in the U.S. military and in its most important asset-people,” said Hagel. “It is our obligation to sustain that trust well into the future.”