GEELONG, Australia --
The Southern Hemisphere’s biggest event, the 2019 Australian International Airshow and Aerospace & Defence Exposition (AVALON 19), concluded at Geelong, Victoria, Australia, March 3, 2019.
Approximately 130 U.S. military personnel and aircraft participated in AVALON 19 to strengthen military-to-military ties with Australian allies while enhancing relationships with partners in the Indo-Pacific region.
“Building relationships is critical, and coming to these airshows helps us form partnerships, meet counterparts, get more familiar with each other’s aircraft and increases our interoperability,” said Col. Matthew Nicholson, AVALON 19 U.S. Air Force mission commander. “The world and the Pacific are a big place. If we end up in a major crisis it’s unlikely we will be able to do it ourselves. Having an ally like Australia be a part of the coalition makes it a lot easier.”
The show featured leading companies and organizations, aerial acts and aircraft static displays from all over the world including F-22 Raptors assigned to the 3rd Wing at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; a C-17 Globemaster III assigned to the 15th Wing from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; a B-52 Stratofortress and RQ-4 Global Hawk assigned to the 36th Wing from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam; an MQ-9 Reaper assigned to the 432nd Wing at Creech Air Force Base, Nev.; KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 336th Wing at March Air Reserve Base, Calif.; and the P-8A Poseidon accompanied by Sailors from Patrol Squadron 47, deployed to Okinawa, Japan.
“This has definitely been the best year of the show I've experienced so far,” said Carrie Gunn, a volunteer at Avalon 2019.
An estimated 200,000 visitors attended the week-long event and had the opportunity to watch the various acts, aircraft displays and interact with military members from around the world.
“Everything we have received from all our Airmen has been great,” said Nicholson “All the feedback I’ve gotten from visitors, foreign military members and the people running the airshow has been nothing short of awesome.
“I want to personally thank all the Airmen for working hard from gate opening to closing,” he added. “Everybody looked sharp and did an absolute great job.”