Story by PV2 Joanna Gaona Gomez on 07/21/2019People from all over Europe traveled to Jurmala airport this weekend to view and participate in the Wings over Baltic Airshow, the second edition of the two-day event from July 20 to July 21, 2019, Jurmala, Latvia. The Wings over Baltic Airshow is the biggest airshow in the Baltic region, where locals get to enjoy an exciting show performed by many different jet teams such as Team Orlik, Baltic Bees Jet Team, Artur Kielak, JAS-39 Gripen and the Polish Air Force F-16 'Tiger' Demo Team.
The airshow offered more than just exciting performances by various jet teams, it also offered activities such as carnival games, plane displays, car displays, bungee jumping and static displays by the U.S. and British Armies.
With sunny and clear skies, the day was described as "the perfect weather for flying" by many of the participants. Thousands of people gathered against the fence closest to the airfield to see some of the intricate performances by the jet teams.
As Jets buzzed by in the background, curious adults and children gathered around the different aircrafts positioned adjacent to the flight line to get a closer look and for the opportunity to sit in the pilot's seat.
This year, United States Army Soldiers, from the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB), 1st Infantry Division (ID), out of Fort Riley, Kansas, showed their support to the Latvian people by participating in the airshow. The 1st ID Soldiers flew a Blackhawk Helicopter to the event from their strategic position within Latvia and performed a few stunts for the thousands of people viewing demonstrating some of their capabilities. Afterwards the flight crew set-up a static display allowing the people who attended an opportunity to get face-to-face with this amazing aircraft.
Th United States' participation in this airshow not only strengthens relationships between militaries, but also helps strengthen relationships between the military and community.
"I think events like this give the public a little bit more of an approachable view towards the military," said Spc. Zachary Anderson, a crew chief in 1st CAB. "They are able to see that it's not something that is far off to them and it's something they've seen and can see that we are friendly."
U.S. Soldiers not only improved relations with Latvia during the airshow, but also with the British soldiers who participated. The U.S. Soldiers and British soldiers were seen joking and talking about the vehicles they brought to the airshow.
"It's good to mingle with the local people, because it's nice to hear they're appreciative of why we are here and they understand that we are here to do a job," said James Godwin, a British soldier with the King's Royal Hussars. "[The U.S. and British] presence makes them feel a lot better and that's why it will help in the long run."