Have you ever wondered what life's like beyond the gates of the Horsham Air Guard Station?
If only for a day, the community can meet, mingle and have fun alongside soldiers and military personnel assigned to the 111th Fighter Wing of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard during Hometown Heroes' Day on Oct. 5.
111th Fighter Wing Commander, Col. Howard “Chip” Eissler said the day-long festivities are a great way to involve area residents.
“Although our roles in state and federal defense missions had to change over the years, our commitment to the community has remained solid," Eissler said in a press release. "Our people are proud of the jobs they do every day. The evolving missions here are equally as important to the area and defense of the U.S. even though the footprint of the base has changed dramatically.”
The 238-acre Horsham Air Guard Station–once part of the 1,100-acre Willow Grove air base–is awaiting the start of its newest mission: a drone command center, which will allow local pilots to fly aircraft remotely.
The community will also gain a sense of past missions through military displays from base-assigned Pennsylvania Air National Guard, Army National Guard and the Army Reserve featuring equipment and demonstrations highlighting the broad spectrum of missions performed supporting local, state and federal needs.
This first community invitation to visit the base since the days of the Willow Grove air shows, last held in 2006 and the final flight ceremony at the Willow Grove Naval Air Station, Joint Reserve Base in March of 2011, Hometown Heroes Day features a classic car show, live music, face painting, a moon bounce and an animal adoption program.
If you go
Hometown Heroes Day will kick off at 8 a.m. with a 5K fun run, titled the “Heroes 5K on the Runway,” using the closed runway as a course. Advance registration forms are available here, or on race-day beginning at 7 a.m.
Following the race, the Horsham Air Guard Station, which is situated on Route 611 three miles north of the Willow Grove Turnpike interchange, will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 5 for a free event to recognize the contributions of its base military members, to salute sacrifices of their spouses and children and to thank actively engaged civilian employers of Pennsylvania’s Guard men and women.
Vehicles, bags, backpacks, camera bags, purses, strollers and the like are subject to search at any number of checkpoints. Prohibited items include: firearms of any kind, ammunition, explosives, illicit drugs, alcohol and coolers.