Gowen Thunder Takes Flight Over the Treasure Valley
I only wish I had the unbelievable videos and breathtaking photography I snapped when enlisted in the United States Navy. I remember shooting video on board the U.S.S Abraham Lincoln during a replenishment at sea collision. There's no way to describe the craziness that took places afterward as the Intel teams came to me, grabbed the video, and vanished. It was about the most top secret I'd ever felt. Needless to say I never saw that video again. I also remember taking video in the middle of the ocean as fighter jets did touch and go drills (this is when a jet touches down for a landing and immediately lifts back off again for more passes.) There is nothing like the power of a billion dollar fighter jet landing in the middle of night about 20 feet in front of you.
Fast forward to this weekend and I get a different feeling watching as a civilian. It's hard not to get emotional these days when I see someone in uniform, catch a video or watch our United States Airforce put on a show for the very ones they protect 24/7. I was so impressed by the professionalism from being greeted at the front gates till we left. There was a sense of serious when my wife said, "are those snipers?" Yep. That's exactly what they looked like above on buildings looking over the crowd.
I was able to meet my hero in a training simulation exercise a few months back. She doesn't want ANY recognition or praise. I'll just use her call sign, "BUG." She is a war hero, the first woman of many things, and resides over your skies protecting us here and abroad. These men and women do more than train. They REALLY prepare for something they can't speak about and when we enjoy our football, families, and local perks like FREEDOM. BUG and her teams are flying nonstop service to protect are butts. I felt honored to be taking pictures of the most bravest Americans in our country. I was stationed in Bremerton, Washington and I noticed something you don't see every day. I remember the checkers at the grocery stores would always say, "thank you for your service and protecting our freedoms. We don't forget." I was barely 21 and never appreciated that as much as I do now. I try to thank everyone that serves and has served us. I love them for their selflessness and say prayers for their families. It's not easy keeping a household together while your husband, mother, sister, son or daughter is serving.
I took these photos that I'll split into two albums. I only took pictures of the Thunderbirds as the finale. Thanks to everyone who supported in putting together this free event for us. I'm not sure who loved it more, the kids or the parents!