Commentary

March 11, 2014

Greetings

Brig. Gen. Mike Rothstein
56th Fighter Wing commander

Welcome to “Lightning in the Desert,” Luke Air Force Base’s Open House and Air Show. We are excited to open our gates to the people of Arizona for a glimpse at our nation’s Air Force in action. The next two days will be packed with demonstrations and displays, which are sure to delight people of all ages.

We will showcase the sights and sounds of some of the military’s most advanced aircraft, and our neighbors will be able to meet the Airmen who make the U.S. Air Force the best and most respected in the world.

Leading the way for this year’s show are the Thunderbirds, the Air Force’s premier aerial demonstration team. The Thunderbirds are best known for their amazing precision performances, designed to exhibit the capabilities of the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

One of the Thunderbirds’ primary missions is to inspire young people to serve their country in the U.S. Air Force. Since 1953, when the team officially activated here at Luke, they’ve had the privilege of performing for more than 400 million people worldwide. We are honored to host them here at their airfield where they started.

You’ll also have the opportunity to see the Air Force’s newest fighter jet, the F-35A Lightning II, which now calls Luke home. While the F-16 arrived on base in 1982, the F-35 will become the mainstay in the West Valley for years to come.

While enjoying this weekend’s performances, displays and other attractions, I encourage visitors to take the opportunity to speak with some of the men and women who have accepted the challenge of serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. They are our country’s finest, proudly demonstrating their commitment to this great nation.

Team Luke has worked hand-in-hand with our local partners and state leaders to make this year’s air show worthy of the patriotic citizens of the great state of Arizona. We couldn’t have organized an event of this size without the support of our local communities and the many generous sponsors whose contributions have been critical to the success of Luke Days 2014.

On behalf of all the Thunderbolts of the 56th Fighter Wing, the largest fighter wing in the Air Force, I extend you a heartfelt invitation to this world-class event. It’s our honor to serve. We thank you for your patriotism and support, and look forward to meeting you at “Lightning in the Desert.”




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