NORTH CHARLESON, SC (WCSC) - Officials at Joint Base Charleston announced Thursday the base's 2010 Air Expo, originally scheduled for April 17, was canceled because of increased operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Aircrews with the 437th Airlift Wing are flying cargo and passenger airlift missions in support of the current troop surge in Afghanistan as called for by President Obama. The airlift capability is a key component of the Air Force's air bridge taking people and cargo to forward operating locations.
"We don't take the decision lightly," said Col. Martha Meeker, 628th Air Base Wing commander. "However, in the end, supporting the advancement of freedom to those who've never known what it's like to set their own course must take priority."
Since Sept. 11, 2001, Charleston aircrews have airlifted more than 272.3 million pounds of cargo and more than 220,000 passengers in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.
Base officials emphasize that they fully recognize the importance of the Air Expo to military recruiting and to community appreciation and understanding of the base's mission.
However, they said they were still working to bring in the Blue Angels for a performance on the same date. Base officials hope to have the Blue Angels fly a demonstration over the Charleston Harbor as a finale for the Charleston Naval Week activities.
Base leadership is hoping to schedule another Air Expo for sometime in 2011 or early 2012.