An A-10 Thunderbolt II of the Maryland Air National Guard passes by at the 2021 Ocean City Air Show. (Photo submitted by Connor Ochs)

Photos of the Week: Land of the Free

When the United States of America was born on July 4, 1776, airplanes did not exist and humans had not yet learned how to take to the skies. America’s independence was won on the ground and in the waves. It took another 133 years for the U.S. military to deploy its first aircraft in 1909, a Wright A Flyer for the Army Signal Corps.

Now airplanes are as fundamental a part of our armed forces as tanks and ships. And on this Independence Day, we salute the pilots, engineers, mechanics, flight officers and all the others who serve in aviation roles for our military.

Sixteen-year-old Connor Ochs took this patriotic shot at the Ocean City Air Show of an A-10 Thunderbolt—often referred to as a Warthog—assigned to the 175th Wing of the Maryland Air National Guard. The A-10 specializes in close air support of ground troops.

Coincidentally, Nicholas Toto was at the same air show and captured a photo of the Air Force’s Thunderbirds aerial demonstration team. These ace pilots operate F-16 Fighting Falcons, one of the most common multipurpose fighter jets in the world.

Thanks, Connor and Nicholas, and happy birthday, America!

Our readers continue to pass along shots of unique aircraft, international airports, historical events, gorgeous views and even family vacation photos for this feature. We love them! Keep them coming—you can click here for submission guidelines.

The Air Force’s Thunderbirds demonstration team has flown the F-16 Fighting Falcon since 1983. (Photo submitted by Nicholas Toto)

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