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Installation commander hopeful for military open house in the future

NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION, N.Y. --

S.H. from Buffalo recently asked me if we will ever have an air show on the base again?

Well, the answer is, “I hope so and I’m optimistic that we will.”

Air shows, especially those affiliated with military base open houses, are a staple of summertime outdoor recreation. Here in Western New York, they are a tangible example of the deep partnership between the U.S. Air Force and the local community. I value the partnership and I’ll bet you do too. Plus, they are a lot of fun and are a source of education for those who attend. Our open houses are a great opportunity to inspire our next generation of Airmen and we’re eager to open our gates to the community so they can truly engage with their Air Force.  

That said, the pandemic remains a variable. Like you, I had hoped this would be over within a year but such has not been the case.  As much as I want to welcome the community on the base to “show our stuff” including Niagara’s fully operationally capable KC-135 Stratotankers, I couldn’t live with myself if you, your family, or our Citizen Airmen became sick as a result of an air show-related COVID-19 breakout. Furthermore, if a pandemic cluster inhibited our ability to project Airpower, then I would not be doing my job in preparing those resources if or when needed and I would not have met my obligation to you which is to be a good steward of the men, women, and equipment to which I have been entrusted by Americans like yourself.

I am optimistic that we will get back to normal—back to yes—when the time is right.