JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas —
Chaos seemed to be everywhere as aircrafts roared overhead and swarming crowds cheered on a glistening, Sunday afternoon at Kelly Field during the Joint Base San Antonio Air Show and Open House Nov. 4-5.
As air show director, Chris “Chaos” Kelly, an imposing 6-foot-4-inch man, was responsible for providing order and control in every aspect of confusion that comes along with running an air show. Whether it is upside-down helicopters, formation flying of the U.S. Air Force Aerial Demonstration Squadron “Thunderbirds,” or the pyrotechnics and deafening uproar of Tora! Tora! Tora!, “Chaos” was on top of things.
“I’m responsible for the whole operation,” Kelly said. “I keep everything going, everybody on point and everybody happy.”
Rental cars, hotels or anything else required, Kelly provided it so the air show could move along smoothly.
"There’s a lot of moving parts,” Kelly said. “But to me, it’s just another day at work. I don’t really get too stressed out about these things.”
During his air show duties, Kelly woke up as early as 4 a.m., vibrant and alert, responding quickly to every phone call he received.
Kelly may have his air show experience to thank for his sharpness and functionality in less than favorable conditions, but it is his experience as a U.S. Air Force MH-53 Pave Low pilot that enabled him to stay so observant and drive his success as air show director.
“As a pilot every phase of the operation is pretty turbulent,” Kelly said. “I’ve done both operations and contingency. The experience really helps me stay calm and collected out here, even when I have to be everywhere at once.”
Unlike flying Pave Low missions, Kelly isn’t stressed. For him, this air show is a celebration.
“We are celebrating the Air Force’s 70th Birthday, Air Education and Training Command’s 75th birthday and the 100th anniversary of Kelly Field,” Kelly said. “We’re enjoying the whole fact of what we’re doing like you’re supposed to do during a celebration.”
Part of the Air Force celebrating all these birthdays and landmarks is sharing the opportunity with the public, Kelly added.
“They’re the ones who make all the landmarks possible,” Kelly said. “Our goal for this show is really to create an awesome open house that shares our heritage and our future with the public. The biggest part I play in doing that is making sure everything is organized.”
Throughout the air show, order and control was provided because “Chaos” was everywhere.
“At the end of the day, everybody did their job and we really enjoyed this unique event,” Kelly said. “It was all made possible by our synchronization as a team.”