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Kentucky Air Guard once again supporting Thunder Over Louisville

Two U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor fighter jets taxi into the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on April 18, 2012, prior to this weekend's 22nd annual Thunder Over Louisville air show. The Raptor Demo Team, based at Langley Air Force Base, Va., will be one of the show's marquee events. The Kentucky Air Guard is once again supporting military aircraft for Thunder, which has grown to become one of the largest air shows in North America, organizers say. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

Two U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor fighter jets taxi into the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on April 18, 2012, prior to this weekend's 22nd annual Thunder Over Louisville air show. The Raptor Demo Team, based at Langley Air Force Base, Va., will be one of the show's marquee events. The Kentucky Air Guard is once again supporting military aircraft for Thunder, which has grown to become one of the largest air shows in North America, organizers say. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor aircraft taxies into the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on April 18, 2012, prior to this weekend's 22nd annual Thunder Over Louisville air show. The Raptor is the U.S. military's premier fighter aircraft, with capabilities that are unmatched by any other plane. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor aircraft taxies into the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on April 18, 2012, prior to this weekend's 22nd annual Thunder Over Louisville air show. The Raptor is the U.S. military's premier fighter aircraft, with capabilities that are unmatched by any other plane. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

A crew chief for the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor Demo Team provides direction for a pilot as the aircraft arrives at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on April 18, 2012, in preparation for this weekend's 22nd annual Thunder Over Louisville air show. The Raptor is the U.S. military's premier fighter aircraft, with capabilities that are unmatched by any other plane. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

A crew chief for the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor Demo Team provides direction for a pilot as the aircraft arrives at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on April 18, 2012, in preparation for this weekend's 22nd annual Thunder Over Louisville air show. The Raptor is the U.S. military's premier fighter aircraft, with capabilities that are unmatched by any other plane. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

News reporters interview Maj. Henry Schantz, commander of the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team, at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on April 18, 2012. Schantz, who is based at Langley Air Force Base, Va., will be piloting the F-22 in Louisville's 22nd annual Thunder Over Louisville air show, to be held along the banks of the Ohio River on April 21. The Raptor is the U.S. military's premier fighter aircraft, with capabilities that are unmatched by any other plane. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

News reporters interview Maj. Henry Schantz, commander of the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team, at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on April 18, 2012. Schantz, who is based at Langley Air Force Base, Va., will be piloting the F-22 in Louisville's 22nd annual Thunder Over Louisville air show, to be held along the banks of the Ohio River on April 21. The Raptor is the U.S. military's premier fighter aircraft, with capabilities that are unmatched by any other plane. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

News reporters interview Maj. Henry Schantz, commander of the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team, at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on April 18, 2012. Schantz, who is based at Langley Air Force Base, Va., will be piloting the F-22 in Louisville's 22nd annual Thunder Over Louisville air show, to be held along the banks of the Ohio River on April 21. The Raptor is the U.S. military's premier fighter aircraft, with capabilities that are unmatched by any other plane. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt.Phil Speck)

News reporters interview Maj. Henry Schantz, commander of the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team, at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on April 18, 2012. Schantz, who is based at Langley Air Force Base, Va., will be piloting the F-22 in Louisville's 22nd annual Thunder Over Louisville air show, to be held along the banks of the Ohio River on April 21. The Raptor is the U.S. military's premier fighter aircraft, with capabilities that are unmatched by any other plane. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt.Phil Speck)

KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The Kentucky Air National Guard Base will once again serve as the launching pad for military aircraft slated to appear in this weekend's 22-annual Thunder Over Louisville air show.

The April 21 event promises to be one of the biggest yet, according to Capt. Josh Ketterer, a C-130 pilot in the 123rd Airlift Wing and the Kentucky Air National Guard's Thunder coordinator.

This year's schedule features more than 25 current military planes and helicopters from the U.S. Armed Services and Canadian military, as well as variety of historic war birds. Highlights include the F-22 Raptor, a B-2 Stealth Bomber and F/A-18 Hornets.

"The public will see a representation of every single service, and every single type of military aircraft during the air show," Ketterer said. "It will be impressive."

A special segment of the six-hour program will highlight Marine Corps aircraft in recognition of the Corps' 100th year of flying operations. The United States Marine Corps began its aviation program on May 22, 1912.

Sgt. Dakota Meyer, a Marine Corps Medal of Honor recipient and Kentucky native, will be featured during the Marine aviation segment by sitting in the back seat of an AV-8B Harrier during its aerial demonstration over the Ohio River.

As always, The Kentucky Air Guard will provide logistical, security and maintenance support for military aircraft throughout the day.

"It's an honor for us to support this event, which is now in its 22nd year and has become one of the most successful air shows in the nation," Ketterer said. "For the past 21 years, the 123rd Airlift Wing has consistently provided a high level of service to the community and a high level of hospitality to our visiting air crews and maintainers during Thunder. This year will be no different.

"We know our efforts allow hundreds of thousands of people to see the nation's military aircraft up close, whether they're watching them in person along the riverfront or tuning in to the live telecast."

The Kentucky Air Guard's 123rd Special Tactics Squadron will kick off the air show Saturday when four pararescuemen are scheduled to parachute out of a Kentucky C-130 Hercules aircraft and land in the Ohio River, where they will be recovered by other members of the special tactics team.