Parking plan for 45K attendees nears completion for Grissom's upcoming air show

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Courtney Dotson-Essett
  • 434th ARW Public Affairs

There are just under two months to go until the Grissom Air and Space Expo on Sept. 7-8,  and planners have moved from the crawling and walking stage, right into the run.

It’s been a massive undertaking, with a lot of moving parts. One of the biggest moving parts will actually be somewhat stationary on event days-parking.

Event planners are expecting crowds of 45,000 people to attend each day. It’s up to Maj. Chad Tice, 72nd Air Refueling Squadron assistant chief of standardization and evaluation, to find parking for them.

So where does one begin to park 45,000 people? By studying every inch of available space and with as much teamwork as possible.

“We started planning this about one year out and it’s taken about that much time to get us to where we are now,” said Tice. “We feel we have a pretty good plan for it.”

This is the Alabama native’s first experience with air show planning. Grissom’s last air show was 16 years ago, just prior to Tice’s arrival at Grissom.

While he may be new to this, the 15-year Air Force veteran has remained calm under pressure and handled each detail like a pro.

Tice has worked closely with Indiana State Police to map out parking zones, entry and exit points and the flow of traffic at the start and end of each show. 

It’s been an invaluable working relationship.

“It’s been very crucial,” he said of his partnership with ISP. “They’re the ones who are going to handle the roads and getting people into the annex.”

Along with ISP, Tice has worked tirelessly with planning officials from Grissom, the Miami County Sheriff’s Department and a volunteer group of retired military members who will handle on-base parking.

“This is a community relations event,” said Col. Larry Shaw, 434th Air Refueling Wing commander. “Grissom is hosting it but it takes the whole community to make it special.”

With the lion’s share of the logistics portion complete, Tice said the final weeks will consist of fine tuning.

“Now we’re getting to the point where there are, hopefully, no changes and we can just perfect what we have,” he said.

When the last visitor’s car has left the annex and Grissom goes back to business as usual, Tice believes the success of the event will be evident in the guest experience.

“As long as everyone has a good time-that’s the main thing,” he said.

Grissom plays an integral role in global and national security.

Tice added, “That’s why we’re putting on this show-for people to come out to Grissom and to showcase what we do here.”

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. The Air Force Reserve Command Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

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