Sandy Viveiros, a local community member, salutes outside the window of a KC-135 Stratotanker during Open House at Lajes Field, Aug. 5, 2012. Cooperation and solidarity with the Portuguese and U.S Air Forces enabled the base to open its gates during the Azores’ busiest time of the year; Praia Fest. The Open House provided an opportunity for Team Lajes to showcase our military readiness and capabilities to our local community. (Photo by Lucas Silva)
Local media captures footage during the 2012 Open House for RTP-Açores Daily News, at Lajes Field, Aug. 5, 2012. The Open House provided an opportunity for Team Lajes to showcase our military readiness and capabilities to our local community. The event featured various activities including a mini bazaar, military working dog demonstrations, aircraft displays and live performances by Rock After Midnight (R.A.M) and the USAFE Band, Touch ‘n Go. (Photo by Lucas Silva)
Portuguese Air Force security forces members perform a military working dog demonstration during the 2012 Open House at Lajes Field, Aug. 5, 2012. Members of the 65th Air Base Wing supported an Open House event hosted by their Portuguese Air Force partners at Lajes Field. The event featured various activities including a mini bazaar, military working dog demonstrations, aircraft displays and live performances by Rock After Midnight (R.A.M) and the USAFE Band, Touch 'n Go. (Photo by Lucas Silva)
Colin Goetzman, 3, son of Master Sgt. Shelby Goetzman, 65th Operations Support Squadron air traffic controller, looks around the inside of an F-15C Eagle during Open House at Lajes Field, Aug. 5, 2012. Members of the 65th Air Base Wing supported an Open House event hosted by their Portuguese Air Force partners at Lajes Field. The event featured various activities including a mini bazaar, military working dog demonstrations, aircraft displays and live performances by the US Air Forces in Europe Band, Touch ‘n Go. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Chenzira Mallory)
by Staff Sgt. Angelique N. Smythe
65th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
8/9/2012 - LAJES FIELD, Azores -- More than 5,500 people were entertained at Lajes Open House 2012 on Aug. 5.
Open House was an opportunity for people both on and off base to get a chance to see how the Portuguese and Americans work together, some of the things they provide to the community, as well as some of the aircraft they operate and support.
Everyone first witnessed the solidarity of the two forces as they entered the flightline's entry control point where security was enforced by both Portuguese military policemen and American security forces members.
From there, they toured a C-5 Galaxy, the Air Force's largest and only strategic airlifter that can carry more cargo farther distances than any other aircraft and is capable of being opened for loading from both front and rear ends.
Two F-15E Strike Eagle, a KC-135 Stratotanker, a Merlin helicopter and CASA C-295M were other static displays.
The day began quietly at first, however, at the sound of roaring engines, everyone stopped in their tracks to watch as approximately 40 motorcyclists from the Portuguese and American Motorcycle Club rode onto the flightline with a sense of pride to show their support for Lajes Open House 2012.
One Portuguese motorcyclist, Jose DaSilva, said, "We're here because it's a special day for the air base. Normally, they do the Open House every year so everybody can see the airplanes and people from the island appreciate the air force a lot, especially the American people and the Portuguese people. We welcome the American people here all the time and they like to stay here too because we treat everybody right and I think everybody treats each other really good. We all live together, work together, like brothers."
As the crowd poured in close to noon, the USAFE Band "Touch 'n Go" drew in an audience with their loud, energetic and exciting modern day pop songs. Some people stood by to listen and dance; others grabbed lunch from the food bars then sat on the bleachers to enjoy their meals and music. Other performers included A.J. Taisague from the 65th Force Support Squadron, Rock After Midnight (RAM), and the Island Bombs.
Various foods, such as hot dogs, burgers, nachos, funnel cakes, and candy apples, were sold by several different Portuguese and American base organizations. Some vendors advertised by either shouting or using bullhorns to call buyers over to their stands.
"Come get your corn!" Staff Sgt. Michael Rowe repeatedly shouted at the 65th Air Base Wing Wing Staff Agencies booth.
"We've got smoothies!" Staff Sgt. Nichole Piazzo called out from the 65th Communications Squadron food stand.
Tech. Sgt. Durrell Edwards' sale slogan as he walked around to each family with a bag of ice pops was, "It's hot! One stop! Get your freeze pop!"
Even AFN Lajes-The Eagle broadcasted live on the radio, talking about all that had been occurring on the flightline and at the food stands that day.
One of the Portuguese hangars was filled with arts and crafts vendors. Bouncy castles, face painting, a Portuguese military police K-9 demonstration, and free Portuguese military tank rides were also available for children.
A Portuguese woman who'd visited the Open House with her family said it was her first time to the base. Both her daughter and she liked the aircraft they visited but enjoyed the police dog demonstration most.
Her Portuguese friend, Helena Melo, who visited from mainland Portugal, said her husband is from Terceira but they had not been back to the island in six years.
"This is our first time at this kind of event," said Melo. "It's cool to see the planes on the inside, a reality that we don't see. And the dog show was very good. With the combination of the Portuguese and American Air Force, we get to win because you have so much more experience, so much more knowledge and we are privileged because we have knowledge that other people in other air forces do not have, and I see that as a good thing."
Master Sgt. Travis Chaney, 65th Security Forces Squadron, was one of the leaders of approximately 30 U.S. committee members who worked hand-in-hand with the Portuguese to organize Lajes Open House 2012. Working together, he said, was "a learning experience and a good opportunity for everybody on the team. To get a chance to work hand-in-hand with a foreign country to do an operation like this for their community is just great. It's great to know that we're doing something that's going to benefit everybody, not just our Air Force but also the Portuguese Air Force, too."
8/12/2012 9:08:24 PM ET Was stationed there in 58-60..we had about the same open house..the beautiful thing I was on the Air Force Drill Team at Lajes and we showed out stuff during the open house..sure brings back memories...A1C D. Boyer