Visitors return to airshow year after year

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt Deirdre Salvas

The Rhode Island National Guard Open House and Airshow is an opportunity to demonstrate who the National Guard is, what we do and why we serve. The airshow allows service members to share some of the most rewarding parts of the National Guard mission with the community. At the 2017 airshow, we spoke to some attendees to find out what they were looking forward to the most.

Ed Bowers, a Marine Corps veteran, has been to nearly every show since moving to Rhode Island almost 17 years ago. He has fond memories of the times he attended with his grandchildren, who also love this proud Rhode Island tradition.

 “I’ve always been an airplane nut. I started making models when I was eight years old. I’m 81, so you know it’s been a lifelong thing. I come out here every year with the group, walk a little bit, work a little bit. It’s fun because I flew in the precursor to the C-130, [which] was the C-119, I was a navigator,” said Bowers. Spectators like Bowers are one of a multitude of reasons that make the show the long-standing tradition that it is today.

Also in attendance was Don Thieme, a veteran Army pilot who served as a platoon leader during Vietnam, as well other leadership positions during ’60s and ‘70s. “[I came here with] my grandson. He’s really into aviation in a big way. He’s 15 and I’m trying to convince him to join the Civil Air Patrol or something like it [to] foster his interest in aviation,” said Theime.

Each year, the Rhode Island National Guard Open House and Airshow welcomes seasoned airshow attendees, as well as many new faces, with the hopes of instilling a sense of pride in their local National Guard unit. We thank our community for their support.