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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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USAF Thunderbirds perform their famous Delta formation
USAF Thunderbirds perform their famous Delta formation, October 1998 Photo:MSgt. Scott Martin

Little Rock Air Force Base Air Show

Construction on the Little Rock Air Force jet bomber base near Jacksonville began on December 8, 1953, on land purchased with donations collected by the Pulaski County Citizens Council. The tradition of the Little Rock Air Force Base Open House began in 1955, providing the citizens of Arkansas an opportunity to see the results of their efforts and to cultivate pride in the Little Rock Air Force Base (LRAFB). Since its inception, LRAFB has been assigned to several commands, including Strategic Air Command, Tactical Air Command, Military Airlift Command, Air Mobility Command, Air Combat Command, and currently Air Education and Training Command.

The Little Rock AFB Air Show allows citizens to view United States Air Force history in a static display of its aircraft, look into the cockpits of fighter jets, watch parachutists tumble from the sky, and, of course, view the aerial acrobatics of the USAF Thunderbirds in their F-16s, U.S. Navy Blue Angels in their F/A-18s, and the Canadian Air Force Snowbirds in their CT-114s. Children are entertained by "flying" in tricycle aircraft, bungee-ing through space, climbing mock cliffs, and getting their faces painted. A number of booths are devoted to both military and civic activities, sharing information on family support, child safety, preventive heath measure, and drug resistance programs. Air Show attendees may also visit the POW/MIA Memorial Park located on the base, a tribute to America's POW/MIA veterans. Through the years, the annual open house has expanded from one afternoon to a weekend, now drawing visitors from around the world.

Project documentation includes a nine-page essay; twenty-two 8 x 10 photographs; a booklet entitled: "History of the 314th Airlift Wing"; programs from the 1998 and 1999 Air Shows; one mini poster and three large posters; and four issues of "The Drop Zone," a LRAFB tabloid newspaper.

Originally submitted by: Vic Snyder, Representative (2nd District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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