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NAS Oceana Air Show welcomes big crowds, thousands of students, and trailblazing aviators
29 September 2023
From Jackie Parashar, NASO Public Affairs
The 2023 NAS Oceana Air Show welcomed a crowd of over 306,000 patrons last weekend, including over 6,300 students from area public schools to enjoy one of the world’s largest field trips on Friday before the air show. The annual NAS Oceana Air Show is a way for the Navy to give back to the community by sharing the best naval aviation has to offer. Free and open to the public, this year’s event drew families from across the country and around the world to meet the exceptional men and women of all service branches of our military.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – The 2023 NAS Oceana Air Show welcomed a crowd of over 306,000 patrons last weekend, including over 6,300 students from area public schools to enjoy one of the world’s largest field trips on Friday before the air show.
The annual NAS Oceana Air Show is a way for the Navy to give back to the community by sharing the best naval aviation has to offer. Free and open to the public, this year’s event drew families from across the country and around the world to meet the exceptional men and women of all service branches of our military.
“This air show is such a great example of the strong relationship we have with our surrounding community,” said NAS Oceana Capt. Steve Djunaedi. “The success of the air show belongs to all of us here in Virginia Beach and across the Hampton Roads area. It represents what we are able to accomplish when we come together.”
This year’s theme,
50 Years of Women in Naval Aviation
, honored the Navy’s women trailblazers, from “The First Six” to earn their Wings of Gold in 1973, to the brave women who have since chosen to serve their Nation in the skies. One distinguished visitor was Capt. Mary Louise Griffin (ret), who was the 12th woman in history to earn her Wings of Gold in 1976, and was only the second woman assigned to tactical aircraft.
“It was a fantastic weekend celebrating this important milestone with so many remarkable active duty service members, who are the future of our Fleet,” said Griffin. “I think the entire event was masterfully planned and executed. This is the best face forward for the Navy I have seen in decades!”
It took a big team to pull off this world-class air show, bringing together nearly 1,000 military volunteers, municipal partners from the cities of Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, and Suffolk, two different school systems, and over 50 local businesses.
For the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)-focused field trip on Friday, NAS Oceana welcomed students, chaperones, and teachers from Chesapeake Public Schools and Virginia Beach City Public Schools to enjoy 182 unique STEM engagements, from robots to 3-D printers. Fifty STEM-focused organizations turned out to support, including NASA and Naval Expeditionary Combat Command.
Emergency responders came together too. Joining Navy Region Mid-Atlantic Fire and Emergency Services were seven different first response organizations from across the state of Virginia. Supplementing the Navy’s Security Forces during the event were local, state, and federal organizations, in total comprising of over 400 security specialists.
Without the continued support from the local community, free, family-friendly events like the NAS Oceana Air Show would not be possible.
“On behalf of Team Oceana, I would like to extend our thanks to our neighbors for supporting NAS Oceana, and for enabling our mission,” said Djunaedi. “And thank you for supporting the brave men and women who serve in our military.”
For those who could not attend the air show in person, this was the second year in a row the air show was streamed live, for audiences around the world see and enjoy for free. Anchored by the Navy Exchange Service Command and Navy Morale, Welfare and Recreation, the two-day broadcast featured local sailor shout-outs, vendor profiles, performer spotlights, cockpit video, and live interviews with military demonstration pilots and other aviation subject matter experts. So far, the broadcast has been viewed in over 58 countries, 95,000 times over the span of 17,000 hours, and with just under 900,000 impressions.
For event photos, visit:
Jackie Parashar, Public Affairs Officer
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