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NEWS | May 16, 2017

National Guard Pilots Display Their Wings During Pittsburgh Air Show

By Spc. Miguel Alvarez 354th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

PITTSBURGH, Pa.-- Remaining combat ready as a pilot in the military usually translates to hands-on training behind the cockpit and navigating an aircraft through the sky.

However, some of the pilots from the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, out of Johnstown, Pa., found displaying their apache helicopter and answering questions from spectators, during the Wings Over Pittsburgh 2017 Air Show, was the best way to ensure they continue to master their skills behind this vital aircraft. The event was held at the 911th Airlift Wing in Coraopolis, Pa., May 13-14, 2017.

The open house airshow provides the visitors a chance to speak face-to-face with pilots and other military personnel from the 911th AW and the 171st Air Refueling Wing. It gives the community a glimpse of the mission their neighbors support when they put on the uniform.

“Being a part of this airshow provides us with the opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities of the Pennsylvania National Guard to the citizens of our home state,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Gregory Anthony, a pilot for the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, out of Johnstown, Pa.

Anthony, a native of Punxsutawney, Pa., mentioned that answering questions and allowing spectators to get up close access to an apache helicopter will allow them to learn more about the functionality and importance of having this equipment in the Pennsylvania National Guard. Participating in the air show also provides prospective pilots that may be in attendance an opportunity to learn more about the career opportunities that are available.

“This air show serves as a wonderful motivation for someone who is considering an aviation career, “ explained Anthony.

He said he is able to provide those interested in this type of career with advice about how to achieve this desired profession.

Besides influencing the next generation of pilots or making connections with spectators, the event strengthens the bond between the local community and servicemembers.

“During this airshow, we get to spread awareness about our apache helicopter, while learning more about the cool jets the Air Force has,” said Anthony.

Lt. Col. Jack E. Wallace, with 28th Infantry Division, out of Johnstown, Pa., said that it is great for the public to see that many of their neighbors are also service members who are trained and knowledgeable military service members. Wallace, a native of Mechanicsburg, was looking forward to speaking about their work with the local community and veterans.

Michael Carrigan, a Vietnam veteran and a native of Butler, Pa., said that as a former Army Soldier, seeing the apache helicopter at the airshow is great because it allows him to reconnect with his military experience.

“Ultimately, the airshow allows both the public and former service members the opportunity to see current service members flying around,” explained Anthony, “but also it helps bring the local community together to see the power of having all of the branches working together.”