Guardians of Freedom air show takes it to the next level

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Robert McIlrath
  • 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs

The sights and sounds of freedom and the incredible muscle of Air Force air power was on full display here Oct. 26-27, 2019, as thousands turned out for the Sheppard AFB Guardians of Freedom Open House & Air Show.

Sheppard opened its gates to Wichita Falls, its outlying communities and people from around the world for the Guardians of Freedom Air Show, which highlighted the many different roles in the Air Force that make it possible to win in air, space and cyberspace. Those not in attendance were able to view a live production of the two-day event on the base's Facebook page both Oct. 26 and Oct. 27.

Lt. Col. Wendy Enderle, 982nd Training Group deputy commander and the 2019 Guardians of Freedom air show director, said it was a team effort to put on such a herculean show that provided entertainment in the air and on the ground. Whether their eyes were fixed skyward or through virtual reality or augmented reality headsets, showgoers were certainly wowed by the activities.

"I'm proud of the team that spent months putting together this successful air show," she said. "I'm glad people came out to see what Sheppard is all about and the missions we execute on a daily basis, and I'm happy people enjoyed seeing the air power that makes the United States Air Force the most lethal force in the world."

The air show was headlined by the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron “Thunderbirds” and the always exciting F-22 Raptor Demo Team, which also flew in a heritage flight with the World War II-era P-51 Mustang. The Wings of Blue Parachute Team from the Air Force Academy dazzled the audience, as did the Academy’s glider Aerobatic Demonstration Team.

Civilian performers amazed the crowd with precision flying and breathtaking nosedives, twists and turns. The show featured performances by civilian performers like the Jelly Belly Comedy Air Act, Doc’s B-29, FighterJets Inc., Red Bull Air Force, and the T-28 Trojan Phlyers.

On the 26th, airshow spectators got to witness a flyover from a Whiteman AFB, Missouri-based B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, which resembles a flying wing.

The final act on both days was the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, who awed the spectators by showcasing their incredible accuracy, precision, and professionalism throughout the whole performance. From the ground crew to the pilots flying the aircraft, the discipline and skill were matched between the two.

Local celebrities also got a chance to fly with the Thunderbirds. Ryan Brasier, a right-handed pitcher for the 2018 World Series champion Boston Red Sox and native of Wichita Falls, got his flight with the Thunderbirds on the 26th. Wichita Falls Independent School District Secondary-level Teacher of the Year Debbie Pepper followed with her Thunderbirds flight on the 27th.

Hit up our Facebook page for more content, click here for a few snapshots of the show, or catch a quick-hitting video that highlights the 2019 Guardians of Freedom Open House & Air Show.