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When the Skies Are Clear in Alaska Yet You Hear Thunder, Blame These Guys

The remote and challenging American state of Alaska is home to the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. JBER for short, the place is the chosen location for a mixed bunch of military assets and personnel, belonging to both the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and U.S. Army.
Thunderbirds F-16 Fighting Falcon over Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson 22 photos
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With its current configuration dating back to 2010, the base houses a large number of military units and branches, including the Alaskan Command (ALCOM) and the Alaskan NORAD Region (ANR). It’s also home to the Eleventh Air Force, and its proximity to perceived adversary nations makes it a highly sensitive military installation.

This isn’t stopping the airmen and soldiers there from opening up parts of the base from time to time to civilians. Last time they did this was back in late July, when the Arctic Thunder Open House air show was held at the base.

This year, some 110,000 people witnessed the display of pilot flying skills, most of them drawn to the site in large part thanks to the presence of the USAF Thunderbirds demonstration team.

It is this squadron portrayed in an image the USAF recently released from the event, showing five planes of the team flying a stacked formation while releasing smoke, in an incredible display of man-and-machine collaboration worthy of a Photo of the Day feature this Sunday.

The Thunderbirds, which use the mighty and widespread F-16s for their exploits, visited JBER as part of their very extensive schedule this year, which should comprise, in all, some 70 shows of aerial mastery.

Left on the calendar this month are the outings in Wichita, Kansas, during the Frontiers in Flight: Air Show & Open House 2022. In October, four shows are planned, starting in Huntington Beach, California, on the very first days of the month, and ending in the last days in Sanford, Florida.

Editor's note: Gallery shows the Thunderbirds in action at other shows.

 

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