Tough decision: MacDill will not hold an air show in 2006
by Capt. Danny Cooper
After careful deliberation, MacDill Air Force Base will not stage an airshow in 2006. Col. Maggie Woodward, 6th Air Mobility Wing commander, made the decision to forego the event after consulting with other base leaders.
"This decision was not an easy one," said Colonel Woodward. "We greatly appreciate the contributions and support of our local communities, and the men and women of MacDill always look forward to the airshow as a way to 'give back' to the Bay Area."
Colonel Woodward said several factors contributed to the decision and the decision was not taken lightly.
"As the leadership of the base weighed the pros and cons of having the airshow, our security situation and the incredible tempo our folks have been maintaining for over a year, led us to decide that it was too much to ask of the troops to hold an airshow in 2006," said Colonel Woodward.
Although security was a concern, it is important to note there is no specific security threat upon which this decision was based. When it comes to security factoring in the decision-making process, there are several other tenets besides specific threat. According to Colonel Woodward the security situation in its entirety was analyzed and the general security of base people and resources was a concern and a factor in the decision.
Colonel Woodward also stressed this decision is not a permanent one.
"We know this decision may not be a popular one, but it's not without precedent in recent years. The 2004 and 2005 shows were the first we held since the attacks of 2001 and the turnout of nearly a million people over the two shows made it obvious how much people in this community want to see their base," said Colonel Woodward. "It's important to stress that as soon as our military commitments ease up, we will look forward to hosting another airshow."
Base officials also want to emphasize the base remains steadfast in its partnership with the local communities around the base.
"This decision has everything to do with leadership of the base making the best decision for the readiness and health of the men and women who make MacDill so successful," said Colonel Woodward. "We still wholeheartedly embrace our local community partners and want everyone to know we couldn't be more thankful to have such a supportive community to live and work in.
"MacDill enjoys a long-standing relationship with the surrounding communities that is unmatched throughout DoD. We look forward to continuing that relationship in the years to come."