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Miramar Air Show TarmacMCAS MIRAMAR, Calif. — The Defense Department’s last-minute decision to cancel this year’s Miramar Air Show because of the federal government shutdown cost the local Marine Corps base at least $600,000, according to preliminary figures.

Marine Corps Air Station Miramar was scheduled to host this year’s two-day show on Oct. 4 but canceled it Oct. 3 even though civilian performers contracted for the show had already arrived in town or were en route, tickets were sold, and tents and other equipment were in place.

The decision left the base holding the bag for at least $600,000 in contract reimbursements for performers and vendors, Miramar officials told U-T San Diego.

“Most of the big contracts have been covered but there are smaller contracts still being worked out,” Miramar spokesman Marine Capt. Anton Semelroth said.

The show normally makes the base money, which is used to support military families.

Last year’s show netted $1.6 million in profits for base families, supporting child care programs for working parents and employee assistance for troops leaving active duty, according to the newspaper.

Even before the cancellation, the show was scaled back from its usual three days to two after the Defense Department announced earlier this year that military flight demonstrations would not be allowed due to the automatic spending cuts known as “sequestration.” That included the Navy’s wildly popular Blue Angels.

This year’s show was expected to draw fewer than half of its normal crowd of 500,000 due to the scale back.

A disappointed Col. John P. Farnam, commanding officer at MCAS Miramar, said he was informed that as a community outreach event, the show was prohibited under the guidelines of the government shutdown, even though no furloughed employees or appropriated funds were to be used.

The Congressional budget standoff over Obamacare started Oct. 1. A GOP compromise that was to be voted on in the House Tuesday was canceled at the last minute because of lack of support from conservative Republicans. Fitch, meanwhile, threatened a downgrading of the government’s AAA bond rating.

SAN DIEGO — Civic and business leaders Thursday urged San Diegans to attend the Miramar Air Show Oct. 4-5 to support the military, even though the crowd-pleasing Blue Angels will not be flying.

“By coming out to the air show, not only are you going to have a great time with family and friends, but you’re also making a statement that you want the air show to continue, and I know that our friends in Washington, D.C., will hear that message loud and clear,” interim Mayor Gloria said.

U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels Perform Over Key WestThe 58th annual aerial extravaganza at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar took a body blow when the Defense Department announced the Navy’s flight team wouldn’t appear. Because of the automatic spending cuts known as “sequestration,” military involvement at air shows has been curtailed nationwide.

San Diegans have been trying to compensate, because the air show generates an estimated $17 million in economic activity. Vendors and military support activities like wellness programs and childcare depend on the event for revenue.

Gloria called it “a tradition in our community, something we all look forward to every year.”

“It’s an opportunity for us to bring the local community on the base to interact with Marines and sailors of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar,” 1st Lt. Chad Hill said.  “They can get that personal piece to see we are part of the community.”

Attendees will still get to see all of the military planes up close.

Jerry Sanders, the former mayor who is now CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the event is an “amazing display of the talent and skill the women and men provide to our country every day.”

Proceeds from the air show go to programs like that serve Marines and their families, like childcare, counseling and career transition, he said.

Kris Michell, the head of the Downtown San Diego Partnership, said that “sometimes you forget how great something is until someone says you may not have it anymore.”

New this year will be nightly concerts, a 5K Runway Fun Run/Walk and family bike ride, and drag racing, Gloria said.

Some of the regular events, like the 2,500-foot-long “Wall of Fire” and demonstrations by the military air-ground task force are scheduled to take place at this year’s event.

Councilwoman Lorie Zapf, whose district includes the air base, contributed $10,000 in office funds for traffic management for the show so that the Marines could spend their funds elsewhere, according to Gloria.

“That frees up the resources the Marine Corps might have invested in that and instead put them towards programing to make the event even more fun,” Gloria said.

U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels Perform Over Key West  SAN DIEGO — The Blue Angels won’t be there, but there are plenty of other new attractions that should entice San Diegans to attend this fall’s Miramar Air Show, area leaders plan to announce Thursday.

The 58th annual aerial extravaganza received a body blow when the Defense Department announced the Navy’s flight demonstration team wouldn’t appear in San Diego this year. Because of the automatic spending cuts known as “sequestration,” military involvement at air shows has been drastically reduced around the country.

San Diego officials have been trying to compensate because the air show — scheduled for Oct. 4 and 5 — generates an estimated $17 million in economic activity. Vendors and military support activities like wellness programs and childcare depend on the event for revenue.

Area leaders, including Interim Mayor Todd Gloria and San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Jerry Sanders, have scheduled a news conference for this morning to make their case for San Diegans to attend this year’s show.

“While some features have changed, the MCAS Miramar Air Show is a San Diego tradition and source of pride for us all,” Gloria has said. “All San Diegans should show their support of our military community and participate this year.”

New this year will be nightly concerts, a 5K Runway Fun Run/Walk and family bike ride, and Racelegal drag racing, Gloria said.

MIRAMAR, Calif. — The two-day 58th annual Miramar Air Show this fall will be missing the Blue Angels and other military planes, Commanding Officer Col. John Farnam announced Monday.

U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels Perform Over Key WestThe show will continue with civilian planes and pilots and with “static displays” on the ground of Marine aircraft, Farnam said.

“It is my honor to host the 2013 MCAS Miramar Air Show on Oct. 4th and 5th of this year,” Farnam said in a statement. “Now as you know the Blue Angels won’t be joining us and I won’t be able to execute the flight demonstration part of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force but that doesn’t mean that your Marine Corps and the MAGTAF are not going to be on display for you here this year.”

The long-running air show was historically a three-day event.

In April, the Navy canceled all remaining 2013 performances by the Blue Angels — including those slated for the Miramar Air Show — because of federal spending cuts under budget sequestration.

Since then, dozens of air shows have been scrubbed for the same reason. The San Diego City Council earlier in July called on the Defense Department to support the Miramar Air Show after members learned that permits for the show had yet to be issued.

The Miramar Air Show typically attracts about 500,000 people and is said to generate about $17 million in economic activity, a City Council report stated.

Without the Blue Angels and other aerial acrobatics, this year’s show will feature a wide range of military aircraft and the Marines who operate them.

“While the show is going to be a little different this year, I tell you it’s going to be a time to remember for you and for your family,”  Farnam said.

blueangelsSAN DIEGO — The Department of Defense said it won’t pay for military flight demonstrations at the 2013 Miramar Air Show, Marine Corps officials announced Friday.

“The DoD decision is disappointing because of the air show’s long-standing tradition in the San Diego community, said MCAS Miramar commanding officer Col. John P. Farnam in a statement.  “We always enjoy hosting our neighbors and highlighting our Marines and Sailors, showcasing the amazing things they do every day.  But I also understand current budget restraints and the importance of being fiscally responsible.”

Miramar spokesman Capt. Anton T. Semelroth said the annual air show had not been officially cancelled, but military flight acts — which compose most of the show — were not approved by the Department of Defense. Semelroth said the show could still have civilian aircraft in the sky and military aircraft on the ground for visitors to look at.

Retired Maj. Marc Weintraub is a former military pilot who has flown in the Miramar Air Show and helped with the show’s execution for several years. He said not having the military demonstrations will impact attendance. He said that would in turn impact military programs at the base that depend on Air Show revenue.

“This one weekend that we do the Air Show here generates most of the funding for the base for morale, welfare, recreation programs that it disperses throughout the year,” said Weintraub.

Senator Joel Anderson told Fox 5 the decision will have a major impact on the local economy.

“If you’re a San Diegan that’s 17 million dollars of infusion of cash into our community,” said Anderson.

Weintraub and Anderson both agreed recruiting will also be impacted.

“It’s an incredible recruiting tool to inspire young kids, men and women of all ages to maybe look at this as a future career,” said Weintraub.

Miramar staff is considering other options for  hosting the community on the base this year, including possible civilian air demonstrations, Miramar spokesman Capt. Anton Semelroth said.  As of now, the show is scheduled for the weekend of Oct. 4-6.

Base officials will also begin planning for the 2014 Miramar Air Show, he said.

Miramar Air ShowSAN DIEGO — The San Diego City Council unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday calling on the Defense Department to support the Miramar Air Show this fall.

Dozens of air shows have been scrubbed around the country this year, the result of automatic federal spending cuts from sequestration.

According to a city report, the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar has not received permission from the Pentagon to host the 58th annual air show, which is scheduled for Oct. 4-6. The air show attracts about a half-million people over its three days and is linked to $17 million in direct and indirect spending, according to the report.

Councilwoman Lorie Zapf, who introduced the resolution, said the city needed to be “proactive and not reactive in trying to keep something that’s not just entertainment or tradition, but has a huge economic impact to our community here in San Diego.”

Kimberley Miller, a military spouse, and Larry Blumberg, executive director of the San Diego Military Advisory Council, said profits from the air show fund wellness and quality-of-life programs like childcare at the base for service members and their families. The funding would be lost if the air show was canceled, they said.

No military officials spoke.

“I want to make sure that the city of San Diego, this City Council, has weighed-in decisively so the folks back in Washington know that we want to maintain our air show for all the benefits that were mentioned, for the Marine Corps, for San Diego, for our families, our military families,” council President Todd Gloria said.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was likely to decide soon whether the air show will go on, according to Zapf.

Also, a pending Senate version of the 2014 Defense Authorization Act includes language that requires the Pentagon to consider resuming support of air shows.

The vote was 7-0, with council members Marti Emerald and Mark Kersey absent.

The council also unanimously approved a bike rental program offered by DecoBike LLC, that will make 1,800 bicycles available at various locations around San Diego.

SAN DIEGO – Due to the automatic cuts mandated by the sequestration budget deal, the Navy has cancelled plans to send ships to community events in Los Angeles, Portland, Ore., and Seattle.

la–me–navy–destroyerFor the same reason, the Navy will not reposition any ships from San Diego bases to be part of San Diego Fleet Week.

“We are prioritizing funding for operations, training and maintenance,” said a spokesman for the San Diego-based 3rd Fleet. “As a result of that, we have canceled ship visits to Portland Rose Festival, Seattle SeaFair, and Los Angeles Navy Days.”

Last August, the Navy destroyer Wayne E. Meyer came to the Los Angeles port in San Pedro for a variety of events. The public was invited to visit the ship, and sailors were feted at the Redondo Elks Club, visited the Ronald Reagan Library and attended an Angels game.

The visit cost $259,957, including $128,260 in fuel, the Navy said.

Also last year, three warships were sent to the Portland Rose Festival and to the Seattle SeaFair at a cost of $465,094 and $697,150, respectively, the Navy said.

“We certainly value the opportunity to showcase our Navy to the American people and we intend to continue Fleet Weeks in the future as the budget permits,” the spokesman said.

How sequestration will change plans for sending ships to San Francisco Fleet Week has not been decided since that event is not in the current fiscal year, the spokesman said.

The Navy’s famed Blue Angels aerial demonstration team has canceled all of its performances for the rest of the calendar year, including at air shows in San Diego, Ventura and San Francisco.


Tony Perry from the Los Angeles Times weighs in on the decision to cancel the Blue Angels 2013 season, including the Miramar Air Show.

MIRAMAR, Calif. — The Navy Tuesday canceled all remaining 2013 performances of its popular Blue Angels squadron, including those slated for the annual Miramar Air Show, due to budget constraints.

blueangels“Recognizing budget realities, current defense policy states that outreach events can only be supported with local assets at no cost to the government,” Lt. Aaron V. Kakiel, assistant public affairs officer for the commander of Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, said. “This is one of many steps the Navy is taking to ensure resources are in place to support forces operating forward now and those training to relieve them.”

Lt. Tyler Balzer of the Miramar Public Affairs Office said this year’s Miramar Air Show would feature a number of other military and civilian performers, aside from the Blue Angels.

“They’re someone we enjoyed having in the past, but they’re certainly not what makes the Miramar Air Show the Miramar Air Show,” Balzer said.

The Marine Air-Ground Task Force will be more prominent in the performance than in years past, he said.

Balzer said this year’s show would be “an opportunity to showcase more of the Marine Corps itself.”

The Miramar Air Show is scheduled for Oct. 4-6.

The Blue Angels will continue to train to maintain flying proficiency until further notice at its home station in Pensacola, Fla., Kakiel said.