It’s Time to Stop the Military Air Shows at Miramar

by on August 29, 2023 · 17 comments

in Military, Ocean Beach, San Diego

By Judi Curry and Gil Field

Has anyone noticed that the San Diego Veterans For Peace, a local veterans organization, has for the last six years been educating local citizens about the dangers and environmental damage inherent in the Miramar Air Show, an annual event at MCAS Miramar each September?

They have mentioned the dangers involved with having high speed jets flying all over our city for at least a week each year, given that 10% of Blue Angels pilots have been killed in practices or shows.

They have mentioned the significant expenditures of US taxpayer monies this show requires every year, as we add $1.5 trillion to our mounting Federal debt each year.

They have attended the show themselves and found small children, often under five years old, being shown and admiring terrible weapons of war, as if they were toys.  They have noticed the number of expensive tents and displays and carry off “swag” set up at the show by the largest defense contractors from around San Diego.

The Defense Department released its 2022 Climate Adaptation Plan Progress Report, Executive Order 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad and Executive Order 14057, Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability, which requires that each federal agency develop, climate adaptation plans, better known as CAPs, and annual progress reports to communicate agency action to bolster climate adaptation and resilience.

And yet, this environmentally damaging “Air Show” continues to happen, as the planet gets hotter and hotter.

Given these DOD service wide climate change goals with annual progress reports, the San Diego Veterans for Peace asked the leadership at Miramar to send a representative from the USMC to attend one of our monthly veterans meetings, to dialogue with us about the status of the Air Show, but they refused, in writing, to send a representative.

It is a crying shame that the leadership at MCAS Miramar continually shows no concern about these dangers. And given the newly adopted Department of Defense climate change goals, one would think there is a mandate to stop having this “Air Show” in which fighter jets fly all over San Diego, dropping tons of fuel and emitting poisonous exhaust, all of which adds to the global warming of the planet.

And let’s take it one step further by calling attention to the F/A-18 fighter jet  that crashed just the other day killing the pilot.  And where did it crash? On a remote part of the base east of Interstate 15!  Man, that is real close…..This was an experienced pilot; one that was not “practicing” for an airshow and he lost his life.

As an educator, it has always bothered me to think that the USMC is encouraging youngsters to attend these shows; encouraging them to think about “killing others”; encouraging them to endanger the environment and never giving alternatives.  And there are many, if you think about it.

What can be done to protect the environment? You want to fly an airplane? Great.  Take flying lessons.  Does it have to be to engage in warlike activities?  Hell no!

It is time for the USMC to take a realistic look at what is happening to our planet; to take a step in preventing climate change that may destroy our planet sooner than anyone anticipated. It is time to stop these “shows” that benefit no one but at the same time cause harm to the environment.  Yes people.  This “entertainment” has outlived its purpose, and it is harming the world, not just San Diego, by continually harming the environment that we all need to survive.

And, one other aside – I would like to call your attention to a short movie that was made a few years ago by members of SDVFP calling attention to the excesses of the Miramar Air Show and how small children were being taught that  “. . . war was great fun.”  It can be seen here  .

Is this what you really want for your children? Grandchildren? I think not!


{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris August 29, 2023 at 11:17 am

“Is this what you really want for your children? Grandchildren? I think not!”
The scary part is, there really ARE parents who seem to want that for their kids. I have encountered more than a few of them at the annual Veteran’s Day parade downtown and the two times I’ve been the the Miramar Air Show.


Willy August 30, 2023 at 10:34 am

You wouldn’t want your children/grandchildren to attend West Point/Naval Academy/Air Force Academy? Those institutions are almost as prestigious as the Ivy League Universities except they don’t come with the huge tuition bill…


Frank Gormlie August 30, 2023 at 12:04 pm

No, but they come with a 4 year commitment of service, and if there’s a war going on, possible death or injuries.


Chris August 30, 2023 at 1:04 pm

Taking into account the filtering process to get into the service academies and then arduous task stick with it and graduate, these are young adults who pretty much know what they’re getting themselves into, at least by the time they’re a couple years into their schooling. Quite a difference between them and a kid enlisting right out of high school. Regardless who and why people get drawn into joining the military, there is something unsettling about a child (like the one pictured) fantasizing about firing a weapon like that killing other human beings.


Vern August 29, 2023 at 11:33 am

The U.S. military currently burns nearly five billion gallons of jet fuel annually.


Vern August 29, 2023 at 12:26 pm

Not to be forgotten… a Marine Corps F/A-18D Hornet crashed, killing four people inside a home at 4416 Cather Ave in San Diego’s University City on December 8, 2008.


Chris August 29, 2023 at 1:59 pm

The command was VMFAT 101. The pilot was Lt Neubaur. Ultimately no charges were brought on him and he was allowed to continue his training. About 6 months after that incident I was hired at PSD Point Loma (we were VMFAT 101’s servicing PSD) and I got to meet some of the personnel who were stationed onboard during that time period.


Vern August 29, 2023 at 5:06 pm

“The pilot pulled up his fuel-tank display in the cockpit, realized something wasn’t right but did not correctly analyze the situation….,” said Col. John Rupp, the operations officer for the 3rd Marine Air Wing. “If the pilot had elected to land at North Island, this “mishap” would’ve been prevented.”

Federal recordings reveal that Lt. Dan Neubauer, the jet’s pilot, was given two chances to land at Naval Air Station North Island on Coronado. Instead, he crashed in a University City neighborhood while trying to land at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

Recordings of conversations between federal air controllers and Neubauer reveal that the pilot of the ailing F/A18D Hornet at least twice was offered a chance to put down the plane at the Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado. The base sits at the tip of a peninsula with a flight path from the south over water.

Instead, the Federal Aviation Administration tapes disclose the pilot decided to fly the jet, which had lost one engine and was having signs of trouble with the second engine, to the inland Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, which is about 10 miles north of Coronado.

That route took Neubauer over the University City neighborhood, where the Dec. 8 crash incinerated two homes and damaged three others.

“This was a tragic incident that could have been prevented,” Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., said in a statement. Had Neubauer and senior military officials followed proper procedures and landed at Coronado “the crash would not have occurred.”

– Eric S. Page and Steve Luke • Published March 3, 2009 • Updated on March 3, 2009 at 6:18 pm


Chris August 29, 2023 at 9:45 pm

Yeah I read read all that back when it was published. I imagine this is going to haunt Dan Neubauer for the rest of his life.


Vern August 30, 2023 at 10:04 am

The chump should have been arrested, drug & alcohol tested immediately. This military worker, effectively, “ghost-flew ” a taxpayer owned airplane into a neighborhood and family homes, rather than flying, as suggested, to Coronado (or ditching at sea). No hero, just a coward.


Chris August 30, 2023 at 10:33 am

I’m not disputing that, but according this and a few other articles I read in the aftermath of the crash indicate he was ultimately ordered to fly over to Miramar and land there after previously being directed to head to North Island. Also keep in mind he was a student pilot and VMFAT 101 is a training command. I don’t know all the legalities involved but I’m guessing these factors are why he ultimately was not charged with any crime and was allowed to continue his pilot training.


Chris August 30, 2023 at 10:34 am

Here is a link from NBC news:


Chris August 31, 2023 at 7:43 pm

Also keep in mind, not only was he ordered to head to MCAS, he was ordered abandon his jet after the 2nd engine had issues. That’s the main reason why he never faced charges. Is that appealing and wrong? Yup, but we are talking the DOD.


Chris August 29, 2023 at 9:49 pm
Frank Gormlie August 30, 2023 at 9:57 am

Chris, next time, either place the link into the text or copy it at the very end of some text.


Chris August 30, 2023 at 4:48 pm

Looks like ole Dan there is now a Delta Airlines pilot:


John P. Falchi August 29, 2023 at 10:03 pm

Yes, Judi and Gil are right. We must stop this foolish waste of fuel for entertainment purposes and count the pollution that the military causes, locally, in alll estimnates of our annual amount of pollution per year!


Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: