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Thunderbirds announce Wings Over Pittsburgh best military show site

911th AW, Pittsburgh ARS, Thunderbirds

Capt. Jonathan Gyory, Capt. Richard Bell, Senior Master Sgt. John Cellurale 758th Airlift Squadron, pose with Maj. Erik Gonsalves, (second from left) Thunderbird #8/advance pilot and narrator. The Air Force Thunderbirds named the Wings Over Pittsburgh as the best military airshow site for 2017. (Courtesy Photo)

PITTSBURGH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AIR RESERVE STATION, Pa. -- The United States Air Force Thunderbirds announced the Wings Over Pittsburgh as the Military Show Site of the Year for the 2017 show season.

“The entire squadron, all 12 officers and 120 enlisted, vote on the award,” said Maj. Erik Gonsalves, Thunderbird #8/Advance Pilot and Narrator. “The votes are based on the best adherence to the support manual, organization, and who showed above and beyond care for not just the Thunderbird team but all air show performers, volunteers and staff.”

“The Show Site of the Year award highlights to the air show industry what show sites are putting on the best show,” Gonsalves said. “We ultimately look at how these shows help us in our goal of recruiting, retaining, and inspiring the next generation of Airmen.”

The Thunderbirds have been presenting this award to the best military show site and the best civilian show site since 2009.

“We knew we put on a great show,” said Col. Jeffrey VanDootingh, 911th Airlift Wing commander. It’s really nice when a premier team such as the Thunderbirds recognize that we put on a great show.”

This type of award takes a lot of team work.

“It’s important to recognize that a show of this caliber doesn’t happen without the support from everyone in the community,” said VanDootingh. “We love our community partners and friends of the 911th Airlift Wing. This award is not just for us, but for them as well.”

The best civilian show site was awarded to the National Cherry Festival-Air Show in Traverse City, Mich.

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