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Team V supports Air Force Week Los Angeles

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- Members of Team Vandenberg inform the citizens of Los Angeles of the importance of space as it relates to the Air Force during Air Force Week Los Angeles Nov. 16 in the Hollywood and Highland Center in Hollywood, Calif. The Air Force Week program allows the Air Force to communicate to America's communities nationwide the critical role the Air Force plays in global humanitarian missions, the nation's dominance of air, space and cyberspace, and defending America's future. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Raymond Hoy)

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- Members of Team Vandenberg inform the citizens of Los Angeles of the importance of space as it relates to the Air Force during Air Force Week Los Angeles Nov. 16 in the Hollywood and Highland Center in Hollywood, Calif. The Air Force Week program allows the Air Force to communicate to America's communities nationwide the critical role the Air Force plays in global humanitarian missions, the nation's dominance of air, space and cyberspace, and defending America's future. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Raymond Hoy)

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- Members from Team Vandenberg supported Air Force Week Los Angeles Nov. 14 through 16 inside the Hollywood and Highland Center in Hollywood, Calif.

Airmen representing units across the base, including the 576th Flight Test Squadron, the 381st Training Group and the 30th Space Wing, manned a booth filled with Vandenberg displays to help raise awareness of the importance of space as it relates to today's warfighter and the general public.

An estimated 500,000 visitors were expected to wander through the Hollywood and Highland Center throughout the weekend, and while the fires in the local area made a dent in the crowd, the event was still an outstanding opportunity for the Air Force to complete its Air Force Week mission.

"People have been very inquisitive and in awe by what they've been seeing," said Capt. Jeremy Gore, a 576th FLTS test operations officer. "This is obviously not something they're used to seeing. They look at our Mark 12 Alpha replica and say, 'What is this?' We tell them it's a nuclear weapon, and they just get this awed look on their face."

The Airmen representing Vandenberg put a lot of thought into how they could best represent Vandenberg's primary mission and best interact with the public.

"We have the booth split up into the spacelift side and the ICBM side," Captian Gore said. "I've been informing people about what ICBMs do and how our mission affects America."

Everyone involved with the event jumped at the opportunity to represent the Air Force at such a high profile event.

"I volunteered to come down to Air Force Week," said Capt. Allen Smith, a space and missile operations instructor at the 392nd Training Squadron. "I felt this would be a great way to highlight the Air Force's mission to people who would normally have no contact with the Air Force."

Captain Smith said that interest was high and the questions were broad.

"People have really been very interested in our ICBM mission," Captain Smith said. "They asked a lot of questions; from how we launch our rockets to how the missile operators function out in the field."

Some Airmen initially questioned the choice of the venue, wondering what the public interest would really be in a location that has very little military contact. However, the warm welcome and loads of thank you for your service comments changed everyone's idea of the area quickly.

"The environment is very interesting because there's not very much of a military presence on Hollywood Blvd.," Captain Smith said. "We've had a lot of tourists come through surprised to see us in the Hollywood and Highland Center. The locals are very curious as to why we're here. For the most part however, we've been able to project a little bit into their lives that the Air Force does more than just fly. We've really been able to emphasize the importance of the space mission, and we've been well received by everyone."

"It's a different world," Captain Gore added. "We've seen just about every kind of person you could imagine. But just about everybody has been happy to see us."

The Air Force Week program allows the Air Force to communicate to America's communities nationwide the critical role the Air Force plays in global humanitarian missions, the nation's dominance of air, space and cyberspace, and defending America's future.