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AutoMatters & More: MCAS Miramar Air Show 2022 featuring the Blue Angels

MAGTF captured the attention of the audience.
MAGTF captured the attention of the audience.
(Jan Wagner)

Due to COVID, it had been three long years since the last MCAS Miramar Air Show. Judging by the huge crowds in attendance, the community was eager to see it once again. As always, admission was free to the public. Preferred seating was available to purchase.

The theme of this year’s air show was “Marines: Fight, Evolve, Win.” It was designed to showcase the “technical innovations the service is undertaking to remain the 21st century’s force in readiness.” This was brought vividly to life by the Marine Air-Ground Task Force” (MAGTF) simulated air and ground assault — complete with large, fiery explosions! MAGTF demonstrates its capability of “generating, deploying and employing ready forces and formations for crisis response, forward presence, major combat operations and campaigns in support of fleet operations and the joint force.” It consisted of a ground combat element (1st MARDIV), air combat element (3rd MAW — the Marine Corps’ largest air combat element, deployable on short notice), logistics combat element support (1st MLG), I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) Information Group (I MIG — providing communications, intelligence and supporting arms liason) and Marine Expeditionary Units (11th MEU, 13th MEU and 15th MEU — a forward deployed, flexible, sea-based Marine Air-Ground Task Force capable of conducting amphibious operations, crisis response and limited contingency operations, to include enabling the introduction of follow-on forces and designated special operations).

Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF)
Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF)
(Jan Wagner)

“The mission of the Blue Angels is to showcase the teamwork and professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps through flight demonstrations and community outreach while inspiring a culture of excellence and service to country.”

These words had even greater meaning for me when I ended my weekend by going to see “Top Gun: Maverick.” I had already seen this movie several months ago, when it was first released but, watching the movie again, after spending two full days at the MCAS Miramar Air Show, provided me with a much better understanding of why the pilots fly precision maneuvers so very close to each other — at times from opposing directions, and at extremely high speeds. These are maneuvers that they must know to successfully execute dangerous missions, as portrayed in the movie.

Blue Angels precision flying
Blue Angels precision flying
(Jan Wagner)

To see the movie this time, I wanted an even more immersive experience than just seeing it in a regular movie theater. For that, I saw it in IMAX in the Fleet Science Center’s giant Dome Theater, in San Diego’s Balboa Park. While there is not a bad seat in this giant dome, my favorite section of the dome’s stadium seating is way up high, ideally in the middle of the back row. Watching the pilots prepare for their ultimate mission, and then experiencing this harrowing mission as they flew it, enables the audience to get a sense of what it is like to be in the cockpit. Being in the IMAX dome amplified the experience. A new IMAX film about the Blue Angels is in production.

The Blue Angels now fly the F/A-18 Super Hornet – a larger, more powerful, longer-range version of the F/A-18 that the Blue Angels flew previously, and capable of flying at nearly two times the speed of sound. Captain Brian Kesselring, USN — Commanding Officer and Flight Leader of the Blue Angels — has been flying in the Navy for 22 years. This is his third and final year flying with the Blue Angels. He is looking forward to continuing his service on aircraft carriers with the Fleet.

Kent Pietsch Comedy Act
Kent Pietsch Comedy Act
(Jan Wagner)

In addition to the Blue Angels and the MAGTF, the air show also thrilled audiences with the U.S. Army Golden Knights and U.S. Navy Leap Frogs parachute teams, aerobatic performances by Vicky Benzing, Mike Goulian, Jon Melby, Rob Holland and Kent Pietsch — who touched down on a moving truck bed, the Red Bull helicopter, the “Hot Streak II Jet Truck and much more, including numerous military and civilian static displays. The U.S. Air Force, also participating in the air show, is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.

What was your favorite part of the 2022 MCAS Miramar Air Show?

Red Bull helo
Red Bull helo

(Jan Wagner)

The 2022 MCAS Miramar Air Show was visually breathtaking. To see a selection of 100 photos chosen from over 3,000 that I shot there, go to: automatters.net/mcas-miramar-air-show-2022-featuring-the-blue—angels%EF%BF%BC/

To explore a wide variety of content contained in hundreds of columns dating back to 2002, visit the Home Page of “AutoMatters & More” at AutoMatters.net. Use the website’s Search Bar to search by title or topic, or click on the blue ‘years’ boxes.

Copyright © 2022 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #761r4


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