Saturday, April 21, 2012

Kentucky Air Guard to support, participate in Thunder Over Louisville

Two U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor fighters taxi into the Louisville Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky. April 18, 2012 prior to the 2012 Thunder Over Louisville Air Show. The Raptor Demo Team, based out of Langley Air Force Base, Va., will be one of the show's marquee events. The Kentucky Air Guard is once again supporting military aircraft for Thunder, which has grown to become one of the largest air shows in North America, organizers say. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

By Air National Guard Master Sgt. Phil Speck, 123rd Airlift Wing

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Kentucky Air National Guard's 123rd Airlift Wing is scheduled to support the 2012 Thunder Over Louisville Air Show April 21, providing logistic and maintenance support for military aircraft scheduled to appear at this year's show.

The April 21 event promises to be one of the biggest yet, said Air Force Capt. Josh Ketterer, a C-130 Hercules pilot with the 123rd AW, and the Kentucky Air National Guard's Thunder coordinator.

This year's schedule features more than 25 current military planes and helicopters from the across the U.S. armed forces and Canadian military, as well as variety of historic aircraft. Highlights of the show this year include the F-22 Raptor, a B-2 Stealth Bomber and F/A-18 Hornets.

"The public will see a representation of every single service, and every single type of military aircraft during the air show," Ketterer said. "It will be impressive."

A special segment of the six-hour program will highlight Marine Corps aircraft in recognition of the Corps' 100th year of flying operations. The United States Marine Corps began its aviation program on May 22, 1912.

Marine Corps Sgt. Dakota Meyer, a Medal of Honor recipient and Kentucky native, will be featured during the Marine aviation segment by sitting in the back seat of an AV-8B Harrier during its aerial demonstration over the Ohio River.

As always, the Kentucky Air Guard will provide logistical, security and maintenance support for military aircraft throughout the day.

"It's an honor for us to support this event, which is now in its 22nd year and has become one of the most successful air shows in the nation," Ketterer said. "For the past 21 years, the 123rd Airlift Wing has consistently provided a high level of service to the community and a high level of hospitality to our visiting air crews and maintainers during Thunder. This year will be no different.

"We know our efforts allow hundreds of thousands of people to see the nation's military aircraft up close, whether they're watching them in person along the riverfront or tuning in to the live telecast."

The Kentucky Air Guard's 123rd Special Tactics Squadron will kick off the air show Saturday when four pararescuemen are scheduled to parachute out of a Kentucky C-130 aircraft and land in the Ohio River, where they will be recovered by other members of the special tactics team.