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Inside the Gates: Arctic Thunder Air Show returns to JBER after 4-year pause

This summer, fans can expect to see performances from the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, and the Air Combat Command F-22 Raptor team.
Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 1:28 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The air will once again be filled with aerobatic twists and turns from planes, as the Arctic Thunder Air Show returns to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson after a four-year COVID-19 pause.

Over the past year, military personnel have worked hard to create the air show. This summer, fans can expect to see performances from the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, the Air Combat Command F-22 Raptor team, as well as civilian aircraft routines.

“We’ll be highlighting aspects of all the armed forces here; our sister services — not just the Air Force — as well as some of our coalition partners,” Capt. Michael Joo said. Joo will coordinate much of the show from the ground with the rest of the directorial staff.

The show runs July 30 and 31, the last weekend of the month. Admission is free to the public, and those looking to attend can enter from the Boniface and Richardson gates.

In past years, the shows have seen weekend totals of 140,000 to 180,000 spectators. Military personnel said that spectators should be aware of additional traffic that may be on the road that weekend.

On the ground, fans can enjoy around 90 different booths and check out different vehicles and aircraft, in addition to listening to live music performances throughout the day from different military personnel bands.

Joo said spectators can also get a look at recent STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) projects underway.

“We’ll have an extensive STEM area that’s highlighting some science and math advancements, both within the department of defense and outside,” Joo said.

The event, officials said, is a way to thank the community for their constant support, in addition to giving them a peek at some of the work they do.

“We are looking to educate the community on what we do and why we do it. All the training that goes into the things that we do,” Lt. Col. Roderic Rosario said.

That also includes providing the public with demonstrations such as tactical techniques that would be used in combat scenarios.

“That’ll be a mini dogfight and then an airfield assault, ground assault, and then a personal recovery medivac,“ Rosario said. “All of that kind of crushed into about 15 to 20 minutes. Should be very exciting.”

More information on show lineup and the event can be found on the Arctic Thunder Air Show website.

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