Many hands make light work at Keesler’s air show

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Davis
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

Keesler and the City of Biloxi hosted the 2023 Thunder Over the Sound Air and Space Show, a joint air show taking place over Keesler’s flightline and the Biloxi Beach, April 29-30.

The air show honored the heritage of the 80-year partnership between Keesler and Biloxi and the role it has played in aviation.

“Keesler and Biloxi have been intertwined since the beginning, all the way back in 1941,” said Lt. Col. John Connors, 81st Training Wing air show director. “The results are a close partnership and a team that exemplifies a commitment to excellence. It was a huge effort between almost every unit on base, the city, county, state and other federal agencies to pull this off, but we were able to put on an event that surpassed our expectations.”

Approximately 70 air show committee members from Keesler and Biloxi worked for more a year to coordinate the event, including a full-scale exercise to prepare for any aircraft emergencies. Airmen and civilians from airfield management, security, safety, logistics, public affairs, medical and maintenance took part in the planning and execution of Thunder Over the Sound, alongside their counterparts from the city.

Around 60,000 people attended Keesler's flightline morning performances and 110,000 people were on Biloxi Beach for the afternoon aerial performers. Overall, there were almost 90 static aircraft, aerial performers, STEM booths and vendors on display.

Historic military aircraft static displays and aerial performers included the Trojan Plyers, B-25 Mitchell Bomber, TORA! TORA! TORA!, U.S. Air Force Academy Wings of Blue, 403rd Wing’s Hurricane Hunters and Flying Jennies, as well as the headlining act, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

Additionally, a STEM Expo introduced both young and old to the educational opportunities on the Gulf Coast and in the Air Force. Attendees were able to interact with a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, exhibits from NASA, Special Warfare, 81st Training Group schoolhouses, U.S. Air Force recruiters and more.

“This event illustrated the heritage of Keesler and Biloxi, our modern airpower and global capabilities,” said Connors. “We thank everyone who helped make the air show a success and everyone who attended this year.”