The 908th enjoys a weekend of sky-high Excitement at the Beyond the Horizon Air & Space Show

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Juliana Todd
  • 908th Airlift Wing

This weekend proved anything but ordinary for Montgomery, Alabama. The sunny spring day was typical; however, the rumble of engines in the air, the vibrant hues streaking across the sky and the rows of chairs stretching for miles hinted at the thrilling day ahead.

On April 6th and 7th, 2023, Maxwell Air Force Base hosted the Beyond the Horizon Air & Space Show. This event showcased exhilarating military and civilian aviation performances and aerobatics, static displays of aircraft, robotics, drone demonstrations and a plethora of family-friendly activities.

While the U.S. Navy Blue Angels captivated the skies above, the 908th Airlift Wing’s 357th Airlift Squadron and 908th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron were stars on the ground. Volunteers from both squadrons eagerly explained their static displays, their roles, and offered insights into what a real-world mission entails.

“I believe many people assumed that when our C-130s left, other missions at Maxwell left with it,” said Capt. Corey Reaves, a flight nurse with the 908th AES. "But as a squadron, we've participated in two major deployments in the past four years and we chose to participate in this weekend's air show to showcase our presence and hopefully garner local support and interest."

Before this vision came to life, considerable groundwork was laid behind the scenes. Upon learning of the Beyond the Horizon Air & Space Show coming to Maxwell, Capt. Reaves and Capt. Kristian Taylor, also a flight nurse with the 908th AES, recognized it as an opportunity for community education, recruitment, and outreach.

They championed the idea of staging a static display at the airshow and had to obtain approval from leadership, coordinate with the 42nd Air Base Wing, and secure the necessary resources and volunteers. Their efforts gained a lot of enthusiastic support from various counterparts, notably the 71st Rescue Squadron from Moody Air Force Base, Georgia.

The 71st Combat Rescue Squadron generously provided their HC-130J Combat King II for the display, allowing the 908th to showcase medical configurations and simulations of in-flight patient care. 

Just a few hundred feet down the flight line, the 908th’s inaugural MH-139A Grey Wolf, presented by the 337th Airlift Squadron, stood as another highlight.

Capt. Charles Pendry, serving as the liaison between the 357th Airlift Squadron and 42nd ABW, similarly seized the opportunity to have a static display. He was more than thrilled to engage with visitors, answering questions about the helicopter, its functionalities, missions, and future at Maxwell.

“I’m very satisfied from witnessing everything that's been planned the last six months actually get executed,” Pendry said. “Being here is an incredible opportunity to share our passion for aviation and the Air Force with the community, hopefully inspiring the next generation of enthusiasts.”

The success and turnout of the airshow was a testament to the coordination, collaboration, and unwavering support from all parties involved. The squadrons from the 908th Airlift Wing extended heartfelt gratitude to everyone who contributed to making their presence possible, particularly the attendees who enriched their experience.