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Kentucky Air Guard helps stage Thunder Over Louisville

  • Published
  • By Dale Greer
  • 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

LOUISVILLE, KY -- Spectators lined the banks of the Ohio River here April 20 for the annual Thunder Over Louisville air show, made possible with support from the Kentucky Air National Guard.

This year’s event featured more than two-dozen rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft, including appearances by the U.S. Air Force F-16 Viper Demo Team, A-10 Thunderbolt II, B-52 Stratofortress and C-17 Globemaster III; the U.S. Navy EA-18G Growler Demo Team and MH-53E Sea Dragon; the U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Venom and AH-1Z Viper; the Royal Canadian Air Force C/A-18 Hornet; and the German Air Force A-400M Atlas.

Other highlights included a four-ship C-130J Super Hercules demonstration by the Kentucky Air Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing. As part of the demo, Airmen from the wing’s 123rd Special Tactics Squadron parachuted into the Ohio River, using the same techniques they employ in austere environments during operational missions around the world. Later in the show, the Kentucky Air Guard’s special operators executed a helocast into the Ohio River from a Kentucky Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk assigned to the 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade.

The Kentucky Air Guard once again served as the primary base of operations for military aircraft participating in Thunder, providing essential maintenance and logistical support, according to Maj. Nick Reinke, a Hercules pilot and air show coordinator for the Kentucky Air Guard.

“Thunder Over Louisville is a major undertaking for the wing every year,” he noted. “The planning for next year’s show is actually going to start (this week) — it really is a year-long process. But it’s also something we love supporting and helping stage for the city of Louisville in partnership with the Kentucky Derby Festival.”