Ever thought of serving your country? Inspiring the next generation at Thunder Over Georgia Air Show

  • Published
  • By Tannyr Watkins
  • Robins Public Affairs

After experiencing his first air show at the tender age of 5, Maj. Rex Deloach knew exactly what he wanted to be when he grew up.

“When my father took me to my first air show somehow we got separated, and I got lost,” said Deloach, assistant air show director. “A guy in uniform picked me up, and he told an airman to try to find my dad. 

“Meanwhile, he took me all around a C-5 aircraft. When they found my dad, he handed me back and told me to stay in school and become a pilot like him,” Deloach reminisced. “I immediately told my dad I wanted to be a pilot.”

And, he is.

Team Robins hopes to continue the tradition of inspiring the next generation to join the armed forces with the Thunder Over Georgia Air Show scheduled Oct. 1 and 2.

The Air Force hosts open houses and air shows to enhance public awareness of the Air Force, to demonstrate modern weapon systems and capabilities, and to promote positive community and international relations. 

But most importantly, the Air Force wants to showcase airmen and support recruiting and retention.

With premier acts like the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the Army Black Daggers creating excitement about the military, representatives from the Air Force, Army, Navy and Air National Guard will be at the air show both days answering all questions about each service.

“Having recruiters at the air show allows interested people to find out what options are open to them and how they can join the military,” said Maj. Matt Bagg, air show ground boss.

One of the main recruitment attractions at the air show will be the U.S. Air Force Recruiting Service Rapid Strike Simulator.

Rapid Strike is a unique full motion simulator ride experience that immerses visitors in the high-tech world of the Air Force. 

Visitors board the ride which lets them experience an F-22 flight, a C-17 cargo drop, Special Operations ground surveillance, satellite communications, and a Reaper missile strike – all from a first person point-of-view.

Maj. Trae Haughton, air show air boss and pilot, hopes the aerial acts, ground acts and static displays will have a lasting impact on some of this year’s young air show spectators.

“My father was enlisted in the Air Force, and I looked forward to the base open house every year because I knew that flying jets in the military was what I wanted to do – more than anything else,” said Haughton. “I decided that when I was very young, and the annual event reset my determination to fly one of those jets. 

“Personally, my hope is that the Thunder Over Georgia Air Show offers that same inspiration and motivation to a younger individual who wants to fly, or serve in the military in any capacity,” added Haughton.  “Having the opportunity to meet and talk to airmen who have walked the path that you hope to one day walk is a priceless experience.”