On behalf of all Luke Airmen, I extend a warm welcome to Luke Days 2018! We are excited to open our gates to our surrounding communities and fellow Arizonans, who show us unwavering support each and every day. It’s our way of saying thank you and our opportunity to showcase your Air Force and world-renowned airpower.
This year we are thrilled to host a variety of military and civilian aerial acts and welcome back the leading act, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels aerial demonstration team, who last performed at Luke Days in 1992. Formed in 1946, the Blue Angels are the second oldest formal flying aerobatic team in the world. The French Patrouille de France, formed in 1931, is the oldest. Our very own F-35 Heritage Flight Team will pair the F-35A Lightning II, the Air Force’s premier fighter, with a P-51 Mustang and A-10 Thunderbolt II in a tribute to the past, present and future of airpower.
In addition to a robust display of military and civilian aircraft, this year’s show also features a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math area, called STEAM City. Representatives from local organizations and schools from around the Valley are on hand with fun, interactive displays for all ages.
Luke Air Force Base has a rich heritage. The base’s namesake, 2nd Lt. Frank Luke Jr., was a Phoenix native and the first aviator to receive a Medal of Honor. This year marks the 100th anniversary of his death in World War I. Since 1941, we’ve not only been in the community; we’ve been a part of it. During this time, nearly 60,000 fighter pilots have trained at Luke. Within a year of completing training here, our graduates are involved in combat operations around the globe.
In addition to our training mission, the men and women of Luke support ongoing worldwide contingencies. Right now, more than 300 Luke Airmen are deployed to 12 locations around the world. While you are here, I encourage you to take the time to talk to the Airmen here at the show. Each is critical in fulfilling the base’s mission of “Building the Future of Airpower.” They are excited to share their experiences with you.
I would be remiss if I didn’t thank all those who worked so hard to put together this year’s air show. An event of this magnitude doesn’t just happen. It takes the dedication and support of our community partners, generous sponsors, vendors, Airmen and their families. A big thank you to everyone involved in presenting this world-class event.
We are honored to share this experience with you and hope you thoroughly enjoy Luke Days 2018!
Brig. Gen. Brook Leonard
56th Fighter Wing commander