My wife, two friends and I attended the Willow Grove (PA) Air Show on Saturday (9/14) and came away highly impressed.
Of note was the combined field assault demonstration put on by the military. It featured a Marines forward recon team inserted by Bell Huey in order to mark the target. Two overflights of F-18s and A-10 Warthogs served to soften the target enough to allow two Stallion helicopters to deploy two squads of Marines. The Marines’ advance was covered by two Apaches, a LAV (light-armored vehicle) and more air support from the F-18s and A-10s. A Stallion then dropped off a Hummer which the recon team used to exit the field. More air cover/suppressive fire and the Stallions returned to extract the Marines.
Also noteworthy was the Thunderbirds (the Air Force’s precision flying team). (On a side note: the turning radius of the F-16s seemed to be such that they turned around roughly right over my house 2 miles from the Willow Grove air base. I got a secondary show on Sunday afternoon just by standing on my front stoop. *grin*)
All of this served to drive two points home to me:
- I very much would not want to be on the receiving end of the US’s military fury. The speed, grace, agility and deadliness of the US’s air arsenal was plain for all to see. I think that any but the best equipped and most prepared foes should quake in their boots at the mere mention of US air power. But then again, I’m a bit of a jingoistic patriot, so what do I know?
- We are incredibly fortunate to have no personal knowledge of modern warfare on our home soil. We are blessed to not have to cringe with the sound of jet engines, to not look with fear and trepidation skyward at the sound of a helicopter’s rotors.
May it be ever so.