FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 4, 2006

Schumer, Clinton Back Request To Have Air Force Thunderbird Team At 2007 Thunder Of Niagara Air Show

In anticipation of the 2007 Thunder of Niagara Air Show next summer, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton are backing a call by the Air Show’s organizers to have the Air Force’s Thunderbird Team appear during the event. In a letter to U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff General Michael Moseley, the Senators urged him to include the Thunder of Niagara Air Show on the Thunderbird’s schedule next year, pointing out that the Air Show will celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the United States Air Force and the 60th anniversary of General Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager’s historic flight to break the sound barrier. “The Thunder of Niagara Air Show is a fantastic event which brings New Yorkers from far and wide to come watch the military’s jet arsenal fly overhead. The crowd will be in for quite a treat if the Thunderbirds performed in honor of General Yeager’s historic flight. These are some of the world’s best pilots, and I am hopeful General Mosley will honor our request to have them perform,” Senator Schumer said. “When General Moseley visited Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station in February with me and the rest of the Western New York Congressional delegation, he saw first hand how enthusiastic the community is about the role they play in our nation's military,” Senator Clinton said. “The Thunder of Niagara Air Show promises to be an incredible event, celebrating the region, its proud aviation history and its promising future. The Thunderbirds would be a perfect and fitting addition to the Air Show program.”

2007 marks the 60th anniversary of the United States Air Force, which was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947. 2007 is also the 60th anniversary of Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier. On October 14, 1947, Chuck Yeager became the first man to break the sound barrier in level flight, flying the experimental Bell X-1, built in Niagara Falls, NY, at Mach 1 at an altitude of 45,000 feet (13.7 km).

General Michael Moseley Chief of Staff United States Air Force 1670 Air Force The Pentagon Washington, D.C. 20330

Dear General Moseley:

Next summer, the Thunder of Niagara Air Show will celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the United States Air Force and also the 60th anniversary of General Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager’s historic flight to break the sound barrier. Sponsored by the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station and the Niagara Military Affairs Council, this event promises to be not only a grand reminder of the proud history of the Air Force, but a showcase of today’s and tomorrow’s Air Force.

The organizers of the Thunder of Niagara Air Show have requested that the U.S. Air Force Thunderbird Team participate in the August 2007 event. We write to ask that you provide this request all due consideration and come to a favorable decision. Air Show organizers have indicated a willingness to adjust their August dates to facilitate the participation of the Thunderbird team.

The X-1 plane that Captain Yeager flew for the sound breaking mission was designed and built in Niagara Falls, New York. General Yeager actually came to Niagara to pick up the X-1 prior to that momentous flight on October 14, 1947, at what is now Edwards Air Force Base. It is fitting that Niagara be designated as one of the sites for the Air Force Thunderbird team to appear in commemoration of this auspicious anniversary.

As you are well aware, the units from the Niagara Air Reserve Base have deployed on multiple occasions in support of “Operation Iraqi Freedom” and “Operation Enduring Freedom.” Thunder of Niagara 2007 will honor those who have served so admirably as well as the establishment of the US Air Force and the 60th Anniversary of General Yeager’s flight.

Again, we strongly support the request for the Thunderbirds to appear at the 2007 Thunder of Niagara Air Show and will greatly appreciate receiving a response regarding this matter. Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer Hillary Rodham Clinton

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