NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — After last year’s show was called off due to a high number of deployments, the Rhode Island National Guard announced last Friday that the annual Open House Air Show will return this June to the Quonset Air National Guard Base.
“The entire Rhode Island National Guard team is excited to once again host the Open House Air Show,” Major General Christopher Callahan, the Adjutant General, stated in a press release. “This will be a particularly special occasion as our Airmen have returned home from deployment. We are thankful for their success overseas this past year and look forward to welcoming our community back to a beloved Rhode Island event.”
The 27th Rhode Island National Guard Open House Air Show will take place on June 27 and 28 and feature a wide array of aircraft and displays including this year’s headlining act, the US Air Force F-22 Raptor Demo Team, which will show off the capabilities of the powerful stealth fighter.
A C-17 Globemaster, a C-130J Super Hercules transport plane and UH-60 Blackhawks, the latter two both being part of the RING fleet, will also be on display.
The air show will also feature the US Air Force Academy Jump Team, a WWII heritage flight, aerial performances from aerobatic pilot Michael Goulian, the Shockwave Jet Truck, which is a tri-jet powered Peterbilt semi truck capable of traveling at speeds up to 376 miles per hour, and the Geico Skytypers.
“It’s a Rhode Island classic event,” RING Public Affairs Officer Second Lt. Alexandra Curtis said. “It’s something that a lot of people have been involved in even before their time in the Guard and it’s especially exciting because our Airmen who were deployed last year will be here with us this year.”
The first air show was held in 1992 and has occurred all but two years since: 2013, when it was canceled due to budget sequestration, and last year, when over 500 soldiers and airmen of the RING were deployed for most of the year, causing the RING to pull the plug on the event.
“With this anticipated federal mobilization commitment in 2019, we have been presented with a difficult decision regarding our ability to safely and effectively conduct this public event. The volume, timing, and the particular trained skill sets of the more than 500 Soldiers and Airmen who will be away during the traditional timeframe of the Open House Air Show presents a unique challenge,” Callahan said in a November 2018 press release. “Ultimately, we could neither compromise the training and support of those being deployed, nor the planning and conducting of our Open House Air Show. As such, we regrettably must forego the event in 2019.”
The event has traditionally benefited the Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, which received a donation of $75,000 in 2018, along with other charitable organizations. It also usually is a big draw for the town, with the last show bringing in an estimated 85,000 people from all over New England.
“It’s a great way to bring our community together and a lot of times folks don’t always have a full understanding of what their National Guard does and for us it’s a way to demonstrate our capabilities and allow people to see what we do,” Curtis said.
According to the RING, further details are set to be released later. For more information on the air show, check out the Rhode Island National Guard Open House Air Show Facebook page.