Blue Angels, Thunderbirds, grounded by budget cuts
Updated: Wednesday, April 10 2013, 10:16 AM EDT
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – Federal budget cuts are taking some of the thunder out of summer festivals.
Because of forced government spending cuts, the Pentagon is ordering the Air Force and other branches that perform at public events to "stand down."
Here in West Michigan, that means the US Air Force Thunderbirds, scheduled to be the main attraction at the Battle Creek Balloon Festival and Airshow, will not be flying the skies over Battle Creek this Fourth of July weekend.
They will not perform at all for the rest of this year.
Organizers at the Battle Creek festival say they are thankful there is still great entertainment on the schedule.
The military budget cuts also mean the US Navy Blue Angels will be grounded this summer.
They've canceled 32 performances nationwide.
The Blue Angels most recently appeared in Battle Creek in 2011.
Commanders hope to be flying all over the country again very soon, but they say for now they will take care of missions on ground.
"We want to do everything we can to get in the air but we can also execute our mission on the ground and that's what we're going to do here while we're told to be shut down,” says Commander Tom Frosch of the Blue Angels. “Our job is to enhance recruiting and interact and we're going to do that through community outreach."
Groups like the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels perform an important community outreach campaign for the military, hoping to recruit future airmen and sailors.
However, just one of their performances can cost more than 100-thousand dollars.
We want to know what you think about all the canceled air shows this summer. Head to our WWMT-TV Facebook page to weigh in.