They're in the Natural State as the Little Rock Air Force Base (LRAFB) in Jacksonville opens its gates to the people of Arkansas and surrounding states for the 2012 Heritage & Heroes Open House & Air Show.
The open house will showcase the base's mission as the world's largest C-130 base and dazzle spectators with amazing aerial and ground events from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces from varying eras.
The Blue Angels (U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron) are the show's headliners. Their awe-inspiring performance will cap both days of the open house.
"We are thrilled to be able to open our gates and welcome our neighbors to our beautiful base. It's an opportunity to thank the local community for their tireless support, as well as show taxpayers the capabilities of their military," said Col. Brian Robinson, 19th Airlift Wing commander. "We're proud of our Airmen, our mission and our base and we can't wait to show them off!
Base aircrews will show exactly why Little Rock AFB is called "Home of the Herk" during the C-130 capabilities exercise. This year's event will demonstrate an entirely scripted enactment of "A Day in Afghanistan" complete with the delivery of a mass formation of 300 paratroopers from the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division.
"If this is your first time to see what the C-130s stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base do on a daily basis, you are in for a treat! You will see a glimpse of how our mission impacts operations in Southwest Asia," said Lt. Col. Kelly Kirby, air show director.
The Central Arkansas sky will be filled with a dizzying array of flying acts. Also included in the air show portion of the day are demonstrations by the Canadian Forces CF-18 team the U.S. Navy F/A Super Hornet demonstration team, precision parachuting by the Army Special Operations Jump Team Black Daggers and the Canadian Skyhawks; daring aerobatics by Mike Rinker and Pink Floyd; and nostalgic B-25, F-4, P-47 and P-51 heritage flights.
Gate will open at 8:30 a.m. each day and officials recommend arriving early to beat the afternoon rush for the headline performers. More than 225,000 guests attended the 2010 open house. The airfield will feature ground demonstrations including a security forces K-9 demonstration, static aircraft displays, a Kidz Zone play area, an Air Expo entertainment center, refreshment tents, informational booths and many more activities.
"I recommend getting to the show early and carpool. Traffic flow into the base will be easier if friends and family carpool," said Kirby. "There is a full day's worth of fun and it's a great deal for families. So wear comfortable shoes bring a lawn chair and pack plenty of sunscreen because it can get hot in Arkansas during late summer."
Click here for more on the Blue Angels.