A popular proposal to bring an air show to Joint Base Lewis-McChord for the first time since 2012 may be going back in the hangar even though the Air Force already scheduled it.
“Right now the planning is currently stopped for the 2016 JBLM air show,” Joe Kubistek, a base spokesman, said on Friday.
That means JBLM might not host a late August visit from the Air Force Thunderbirds aerial demonstration team, an event the Air Force announced last month.
As of this week, the Thunderbirds had not received a notice from JBLM canceling the show, a spokesman for the Thunderbirds said.
“It’s on the schedule and we’re still planning on attending the air show,” Thunderbirds spokesman Tech. Sgt. Christopher Boitz said.
JBLM last year submitted an application to a Defense Department aerial events office requesting an air show with the Thunderbirds.
The Thunderbirds in December announced a two-year schedule of performances and included JBLM based on its request for an air show.
At the time of the announcement, JBLM hedged on whether it would put on the air show.
“We will work to make the JBLM Armed Forces Open House a reality over the coming months. As with anything in the military, it is still subject to final review and approval,” a spokesman said at the time.
Past air shows at McChord Air Field have attracted as many as 375,000 people, the turnout in 2008. JBLM last hosted an air show with the Thunderbirds in the summer of 2012, when 150,000 people visited the base to see the jets. Since then, the military has passed over JBLM in its annual air show circuit.
Most of the stops on the Thunderbirds two-year schedule are communities near Air Force bases or large cities.
JBLM is the largest of the military’s 12 joint bases that combine multiple branches of the Armed Forces under one command. It’s one of two managed by the Army, which gives the Army influence over how the Defense Department spends money at McChord Air Field.
The Army recently has been tightening spending on what it calls installation management — the city-like services it provides to soldiers and families at Army-run facilities. It’s trying to free up money for what it calls readiness, which generally refers to military training that would help soldiers prepare for deployments.
The Army, Navy and Air Force each have a demonstration team that performs at public events. They’re considered helpful in motivating people to enlist in the military.
The Navy Blue Angels, for example, are regulars at Seattle’s Seafair. They’re scheduled to perform there on Aug. 6 and 7.