JOINT BASE SAN ANTNOIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
With the Texas sunset serving as the backdrop, San Antonio’s Alamo Mission in the background and the University of Texas Longhorn Band lined up in front of the historical site, the 433rd Airlift Wing’s massive C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft came in low from the North, opening up the 71st Annual Fiesta Flambeau Parade with an impressive flyover.
This year, the Air Force Reserve Command’s 433rd AW and 960th Cyberspace Wing came together as a whole, to continue a tradition of participating in the City of San Antonio’s 71st Annual Fiesta Flambeau Parade April 27. The theme of the 2019 parade was “Reflections of Music Past.”
Linda Skop, Fiesta Flambeau Parade Association, Inc. program coordinator, spoke about the flyover, saying it was a big hit.
“Everyone was so excited, so much so, the committee would like to do it every year,” Skop said.
For six of the past seven years, the wing has participated in the “largest illuminated night parade in the world” according to San Antonio Fiesta Flambeau Parade Association’s website.
This year, the wings’ float featured a model C-5M Super Galaxy mounted on the front, and in following in with the theme of the parade, “Reflections of Music Past,” some members were dressed in 1940s era garments, including Col. David A. Scott, 433rd AW vice commander, who was outfitted as a WWII pilot.
Col. Lori C. Jones, 960th CW commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Shana C. Cullum 433rd AW command chief, and other Reserve Citizen Airmen accompanied him on the float.
Spectators cheered and exchanged high fives with the Reserve Citizen Airmen as they walked alongside the decorated “Alamo Wing” truck and float. Wing members absorbed the adoration from more than 750,000 spectators who lined the 2.6 mile parade route, with another estimated 1.5 million television and online viewers.
“It’s a very exciting time,” Scott said. “There’s a lot of energy out here, and tons of spirit. The crowd was going nuts, the clapping, and the music. It was great.”
Parade goers got an extra treat when the 433rd AW’s C-5M Super Galaxy swooped in and flew over the parade.
“It was exciting,” said local preschool teacher Scarlet Lopez. Lopez, along with her sister Nikki and their boyfriends were sitting directly under the flyover by the Alamo. “It was super low.”
This was the first Fiesta parade for Tech. Sgt. Nelida Balderas, 433rd Operational Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment technician.
Balderas, one of the Airmen that worked to build the float in the few short days before the parade, had some advice for volunteers who work on the next year’s float that aren’t sure if they would want to walk the 2.6 mile parade route.
“Don’t let that opportunity pass, because you should want to see it through until the end, which means walking with the float in the parade and representing the wing,” she said.
“I love the parade, and I figured I might as well come and walk in it,” Balderas said. “The people, the high fives that we get, and the cheering has been awesome. I wasn’t expecting so many people to be standing up as the Air Force walks by.”
The float was worked on up until the night before the parade by a dozen volunteers from within the two wings.
“Kudos to all the members who put the float together,” Scott said. “They did an awesome job in putting the float together, and it looks fabulous.”
Scott, who retires next month, expressed his thoughts on this, his last time to ride the float.
“It’s always fun to come together and represent the Air Force, the Air Force Reserve and the 433rd,” he said.