Sentry Eagle Open House draws crowds

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Riley Johnson
  • 173rd Fighter Wing

More than 10,000 people arrived en masse to Kingsley Field to see a wide variety of fighter aircraft, military operations, and static displays at the Sentry Eagle 2017 exercise and Open House, July 22, hosted by the 173rd Fighter Wing.

Sentry Eagle, one of the Air National Guard’s largest air-to-air exercises, provides military pilots of the National Guard, Active Duty and Reserve components a forum in which to test their flying skills including basic fighter maneuvers and air combat tactics against different types of aircraft, close-air support and large-force employment training.

“I’ve never been to a base where we open the doors like we do here,” said Col. Jeff Smith, 173rd Fighter Wing commander. “It keeps us connected with the community that is one of the biggest things we have going for us.”

The multi-force exercise drew units from as far away as Virginia and also included units from Washington, Utah, Arizona, Texas, and California.

The public was able to see the more than 40 visiting fighter aircraft and two tanker aircraft as they were flying over Klamath Falls on their way to and from the exercise area.

“I’ve always loved airplanes,” said Ernie White, a volunteer at the McCord Air Museum who was one of the many visitors for the open house. “The F-15 is my favorite.”

During the open house, a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet from VFA-106 TAC DEMO team, Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia, preformed an aerial demonstration of its capabilities for the public.

This year’s open house featured aviation programs, food booths, visiting squadron’s booths, and many other vendors throughout the day.

Visitors were able to get an up-close look at static displays of variety of U.S. military aircraft and equipment to include a CH-47 Chinook, UH-72 Lakota, A-10 Thunderbolt II, F-35 Lightning, and F-15 Eagle.

 “This is my first time down here for this,” White said. “It’s great and I’m glad you guys do this.”