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Patriotic Article
Troops and Veterans
By USAF SSgt. Matthew Bates

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Air Force Week Salt Lake City A Success
(June 11, 2009)

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Pilot in training Cooper Hirst of Ogden, Utah, gets a little help with the controls of a flight simulator from Lt. Col. Paul "Buster" Delmonte, 466th Fighter Squadron pilot, before the IMAX showing of “Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag” at the Clark Planetarium during Air Force Week Salt Lake City June 2, 2009.
Pilot in training Cooper Hirst of Ogden, Utah, gets a little help with the controls of a flight simulator from Lt. Col. Paul "Buster" Delmonte, 466th Fighter Squadron pilot, before the IMAX showing of “Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag” at the Clark Planetarium during Air Force Week Salt Lake City June 2, 2009.
 SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (6/8/2009 - AFNS)

From kids shrieking in delight at the amazing aerial maneuvers of the Thunderbirds to their parents singing along with various Air Force bands, one thing was obvious here last week: Air Force Week Salt Lake City was a success.

Air Force Week Salt Lake City ran from June 1 through 7 and Airmen from all over entertained and informed the community during a range of shows and displays throughout the city.

"All of the events were awesome," said Mary Trainer, a local resident who attended several events during the week. "It was nice to get a firsthand look at what the Air Force does and how it does it."

The Air Force Week program was set up as an opportunity for communities around the country to learn more about what the service does and how it does it through a variety of events and exhibits.

For Salt Lake City, these events and exhibits included concerts by Tops in Blue, the Air Force's premiere entertainment group, a showcase of Air Force people and equipment in Pioneer Park and an open house and air show at nearby Hill Air Force Base.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for two communities, the Air Force and the state of Utah, who rely heavily on one another, to fully understand what each is about," said Col. Patrick Higby, commander of the 75th Air Base Wing.

Other events included performances by the United States AIr Force Honor Guard, several Air Force bands, an art exhibit at the city's museum and several showings of the IMAX movie, "Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag" at the Clark Planetarium.

Lt. Col. Paul "Buster" Delmonte, a Reserve flight commander with the 466th Fighter Squadron, attended showings of the movie and spoke with the community about what it's like to be an F-16 pilot.

For him, the event, and the week, was a great experience.

"I think it's been rewarding," he said. "People have been extremely gracious and receptive. There's been a bigger turnout than we've expected."

The colonel, a Utah resident for the last 11 years, works full-time as a pilot for the United States Forest Service. He said he appreciated the opportunity to visit with the community about the purpose of Air Force Week and what kinds of opportunities there are to serve in the Air Force.

And, ultimately, he said, the week was all about the community.

"It's an attempt to try and connect Air Force personnel and the community," Colonel Delmonte said. "We work for you."

Article by USAF SSgt. Matthew Bates
USAF photo by Alex Lloyd
Defense Media Activity-San Antonio
Copyright 2009

Reprinted from Air Force News Service

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