BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --
Members of the 307th Bomb Wing, the 489th Bomb Group and the 155th Air Refueling Wing engaged in community events September 12-17 leading up to NATO Days 2017 Air Show in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
“The community relationships we have built in Ostrava help to assure the next generation that we are here to provide them security, deterrence and assurance,” said Col. Robert W. VanHoy II, the 307th Bomb Wing Commander.
The Airmen conducted student tours, visited schools, and attended community events during the week. Additionally, all three units were available during the air show to answer questions about the B-52 Stratofortress, the B-1 Lancer and the KC-135 Stratotanker on static display.
Local students from six cities were invited to a private tour of the B-52, the B-1 and the KC-135 on the south apron of Leoš Janáček Ostrava Airport prior the air show, said Lt. Col. Shawn P. Werchan, the 307th Operations Support Squadron commander. The Airmen also visited four schools and the Children’s Hospital of Ostrava, where a donation of approximately $4400 was made on behalf of the 307th Heritage Association.
Jagello 2000, a non-profit organization that informs the public about security policies and transatlantic relations, and the Centrum PANT, a local organization that educates the public on modern history, helped to coordinate opportunities between Airmen and Ostrava natives for discussions to produce a stronger relationship between the Czech Republic and the United States.
Despite the rainy conditions, large crowds lined up to enter the annual air show to see the presentation of military hardware, armaments, equipment, police and rescue equipment in addition to the dynamic and flying displays.
“Men, women and children come out in droves to see what we bring every year,” said Tech. Sgt. Terance R. Thomas, a B-1 crew chief assigned to the 489th Bomb Group. The aircraft are maintained day and night; in rain, sleet or snow. So there is such a sense of pride at the air show to have the B-1 on display this year.
“At the end of the day, for a maintainer, the jet speaks for itself,” said Thomas.
“Total Force reservist, guardsmen and active-duty Airmen came together seamlessly during NATO Days 2017 to build upon the long range, sustained assurance that we are committed to our allies in this region,” said VanHoy. “The Czech Republic has asked the U.S. to be the 2018 special partner nation for NATO Days next year.”