VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — More than 300,000 people attended the 2023 NAS Oceana Air Show, including more than 6,000 public school students.
The free air show is a way for the Navy to give back by showcasing naval aviation and it drew people from across the U.S. and around the world.
“This air show is such a great example of the strong relationship we have with our surrounding community,” said NAS Oceana Capt. Steve Djunaedi in a statement. “The success of the air show belongs to all of us here in Virginia Beach and across the Hampton Roads area. It represents what we are able to accomplish when we come together.”
There were more than 306,000 people in attendance, which included more than 6,300 area students who came on Friday ahead of the air show.
This year’s theme was 50 Years of Women in Naval Aviation, honoring the Navy’s women trailblazers, including ‘The First Six’ to earn their Wings of Gold in 1973, to women who have served the U.S. by flying.
One of those distinguished visitors was Capt. Mary Louise Griffin, the 12th woman in history to earn her Wings of Gold in 1976, and just the second woman assigned to tactical aircraft.
“It was a fantastic weekend celebrating this important milestone with so many remarkable active duty service members, who are the future of our Fleet,” Griffin said. “I think the entire event was masterfully planned and executed. This is the best face forward for the Navy I have seen in decades.”
The event featured nearly 1,000 military volunteers, municipal partners from Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and Suffolk, two different school divisions and more than 50 local businesses.
For the STEM-focused field trip Friday, students from Chesapeake and Virginia Beach public schools got to experience 182 unique STEM engagements, from robots to 3D printers, and 50 STEM-focused organizations were on hand to provide support, including NASA and Naval Expeditionary Combat Command.
Besides the Navy Region Mid-Atlantic Fire and Emergency Services, seven different first responder organizations from across Virginia were at the air show.
For the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)-focused field trip on Friday, NAS Oceana welcomed students, chaperones, and teachers from Chesapeake Public Schools and Virginia Beach City Public Schools to enjoy 182 unique STEM engagements, from robots to 3-D printers. Fifty STEM-focused organizations turned out to support, including NASA and Naval Expeditionary Combat Command. Local, state and federal organizations supplemented the Navy’s security forces, making up more than 400 security specialists.
This was the second year in a rom the air show was streamed live, which has been viewed in more than 58 countries 95,000 times, with just under 900,000 impressions.
“On behalf of Team Oceana, I would like to extend our thanks to our neighbors for supporting NAS Oceana, and for enabling our mission,” Djunaedi said. “And thank you for supporting the brave men and women who serve in our military.”