Story by Cpl Alissa Schuning on 09/23/2016Thousands of people flooded the flight line as the world's largest military air show kicked off aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, Sept. 23.
The annual event allows the service members of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and MCAS Miramar to open the gates to the public to showcase military and civilian aviation while giving them an opportunity to interact with hundreds of Marines, Sailors, soldiers and airmen.
"[The air show] gives us the opportunity to invite the public onto the air station and give them a chance to see what the Marines and Sailors do here every day," said Col. Jason Woodworth, commanding officer of MCAS Miramar.
The 2016 MCAS Miramar Air Show began with an opening ceremony featuring the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing band, remarks from installation officials and the mayor of San Diego, Kevin Faulconer.
"We are so proud of our service men and women who protect our freedoms every single day, every single night, 365 days out of the year," said Faulconer. "This is one of the most exciting weekends we have in San Diego and over 500,000 [community members] will be here saying thank you."
The theme for this year's air show is "100 Years of the Marine Corps Reserves," honoring the 109,000 men and women who stand ready to answer the call to augment and reinforce active-duty forces at a moment's notice.
"[Reservists] are the people that live and work in the community every single day and also have this other side of themthat is a Marine," said Woodworth. "A chance to recognize them is really important for us."
The opening ceremony ended with hands covering hearts and eyes to the sky as a member of the U.S. Army Golden Knights descended onto the flight line trailing the American flag while the 3rd MAW band played the national anthem.
"I've lived in a lot of places all over the world, and I've never seen a community more supportive of its Marines than [San Diego]," said Maj. Gen. Mark Wise, commanding general of 3rd MAW. "We've got an incredible show for you today, and it's our way of thanking [the community] for all they do for us each and every day."