The recent announcement that the Air Force had cancelled the 2016 Tops in Blue show season left me blue. I can appreciate the logic behind the decision. It’s just tough fiscal times.
I like the fact that AF leadership solicited opinions from the AF population at large in making their decision. Sometimes leaders appear blind to the thoughts and desires of “Joe Airman.” What feels like “mandatory fun” can ensue.
I experienced a few TIB shows over my AF career and I have many fond memories. The emotional impact varied dramatically based on whether the performance took place at a location in the states or overseas. I was most appreciative of the TIB show that filled a hangar at Kunsan AB, South Korea. In front of a somewhat “captive audience,” TIB commanded top billing, optimized community involvement, and promoted camaraderie.
In contrast, years later when I took my family to a TIB performance in a massive hangar at Scott AFB it was different. The show was great but the personal connection just wasn’t there. In a busy “civilianized” stateside environment TIB competes against the Fabulous Fox, the St. Louis Blues, or just time out and about with family and friends.
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I’m not sure if TIB will return anytime soon but it’s been a great, great more than four million mile run! As Bob Hope, who knew something about entertaining the troops, would croon, “Thanks for the memory!”
Bill Malec, O’Fallon