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Aviation Nation returns

Good news for Air Force veterans and aviation fans in general. After abandoning what had become a favorite annual event in Nevada, Nellis Air Force Base will again host Aviation Nation.

Last year’s cancellation was because of financial cutbacks in federal spending. But now things have seemingly turned around and Washington has located marketing cash under its mattress. (I wish they would tell me the secret of doing that!)

Boulder City will have an opportunity to be directly involved in the event and could garner some positive public relations.

At a lunch several weeks ago sponsored by the Civilian Military Council of Southern Nevada, spokesman Robert Jones announced that the air show and open house event is scheduled for Veterans Day weekend, Nov. 12-13. Planning is still in the beginning stages, but the official overall theme will be to honor “75 Years of Air Power in Southern Nevada.”

Jones said that Aviation Nation has been and this year will continue to be the largest free event in the Silver State. He added that in 2014, 176,000 attendees were counted, and a majority of those individuals were tourists. This year, the plan calls for 200,000 guests, with a strong economic impact on the community.

“Nellis (and nearby Creech Air Base) grew with the community,” Jones said. He said the financial impact of the facilities each year totals in the millions of dollars, and the air show amplifies the entire region to those who visit from other states.

This year, local governments will have the chance to host historical displays at the show and hand out promotional information about their cities and city events. Displays will need to be staffed and fully self-contained, and will be housed inside one of the hangars on the field where the entire event will take place. Hopefully, Boulder City will consider taking advantage of the opportunity to present the positive aspects of the town to thousands of tourists from all over the world.

Jones outlined some of the events that will be included at the show: Thunderbird flights, Navy tactical demonstrations, pyrotechnics, static displays, drone demonstrations, a kid’s zone, planes including the F-18 Super Hornet, the F-35 and F-22 Super Raptor and vintage warbirds. Jones said the 75th anniversary theme will honor the dynamic history of American air power and will stress three of the current missions of the Air Force: testing, tactics and training.

For information on planning a display, contact gerald.white@us.af.mil.

Memorial Day

This past May the local veterans cemetery again held a moving ceremony on Memorial Day honoring those men and women who served the nation and who have their last resting place in Boulder City. Sponsored by the Nevada Veterans Foundation, speakers included Peggy W. Kerns, director of the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System, and Kathleen Dussault, deputy director of the Nevada Department of Veterans Services. The Boulder City Veterans Pilot Group performed a flyover in the traditional missing man formation over the Walk of Life outside the cemetery chapel.

I have no doubt that Mayor Rod Woodbury and other city officials have deep respect for the veterans community, but I was saddened to observe that when host Richard B. Small called out individuals and governments for recognition, no Boulder City officials were seemingly present.

Local veterans groups that directly participated included the Catholic War Veterans, Jewish War Veterans, Scottish-American Military Society and Disabled American Veterans. Many other fine organizations (too many to mention) also had a hand in the ceremony, and a contingent of senior veterans from the Nevada State Veterans Home in Boulder City was included. Local plans are being made for a public celebration at the home on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

Chuck N. Baker is an Army veteran of the Vietnam War and a Purple Heart recipient. Every other Sunday he discusses veterans issues over several Lotus Broadcasting AM radio stations in Southern Nevada.

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