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Air Force leaders strengthen community ties, engage students at JB Andrews Air & Space Expo

Participants in the Legends in Flight Joint Base Andrews  Air and Space Expo 2019 look at various set-ups in the Science Technology Engineering and Math hangar on JB Andrews, Md., May 10, 2019. More than 7,000 local students came out to participate in various activities in the STEM hangars. (U.S Air Force photo by Senior Airman Andreaa Phillips)

Participants in the Legends in Flight Joint Base Andrews Air and Space Expo 2019 look at various set-ups in the Science Technology Engineering and Math hangar on JB Andrews, Md., May 10, 2019. More than 7,000 local students came out to participate in various activities in the STEM hangars. (U.S Air Force photo by Senior Airman Andreaa Phillips)

Participants in the Legends in Flight Joint Base Andrews  Air and Space Expo 2019 look at various set-ups in the Science Technology Engineering and Math hangar on JB Andrews, Md.,  May 10, 2019. More than 7,000 local students came out to the STEM hangars. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cierra Presentado)

Participants in the Legends in Flight Joint Base Andrews Air and Space Expo 2019 look at various set-ups in the Science Technology Engineering and Math hangar on JB Andrews, Md., May 10, 2019. More than 7,000 local students came out to the STEM hangars. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cierra Presentado)

Participants in the Legends in Flight Joint Base Andrews  Air and Space Expo 2019 look at various set-ups in the Science Technology Engineering and Math hangar on JB Andrews, Md.,  May 10, 2019. More than 7,000 local students came out to participate in various activities in the STEM hangars. (U.S Air Force photo by Senior Airman Andreaa Phillips)

Participants in the Legends in Flight Joint Base Andrews Air and Space Expo 2019 look at various set-ups in the Science Technology Engineering and Math hangar on JB Andrews, Md., May 10, 2019. More than 7,000 local students came out to participate in various activities in the STEM hangars. (U.S Air Force photo by Senior Airman Andreaa Phillips)

JoJo the Scientist and his sister, Grace, chat with Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson (left), and Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Stephen W. Wilson (right) at the Legends in Flight Joint Base Andrews Air & Space Expo 2019, at JB Andrews, Md., May 10, 2019. JoJo and approximately 7,000 other students were immersed in hands-on science, technology, engineering and mathematics activities among some 30 exhibits.

JoJo the Scientist and his sister, Grace, chat with Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson (left), and Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Stephen W. Wilson (right) at the Legends in Flight Joint Base Andrews Air & Space Expo 2019, at JB Andrews, Md., May 10, 2019. JoJo and approximately 7,000 other students were immersed in hands-on science, technology, engineering and mathematics activities among some 30 exhibits.

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. (AFNS) -- To bolster the long-standing bond between Joint Base Andrews and the local community, Air Force senior leaders interacted with local science, technology, engineering and mathematics students at the JB Andrews Air & Space Expo May 10.

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson delivered opening remarks for this year’s biennial three-day event, which focused on JB Andrews’ partnership and mentorship with local schools against a backdrop of more than 30 STEM exhibits designed to engage and inspire some 7,000 students.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein also attended the event to meet with performers, presenters, students and family members who gathered along the flight line to view and participate in expo activities.

“You will see the entire history of the United States Air Force, from World War II to the present,” Wilson said. “Static displays and performances from all military services demonstrate the full range of missions for the United States military, and will be showcased here at the home of America’s airlift wing.”

Among student attendees was aspiring astronomer and pint-sized YouTube sensation, JoJo the Scientist, who in 2018 appeared on the television variety series Little Big Shots, which features exceptionally gifted and talented elementary school-aged children who chat with the program’s host and producer, Steve Harvey.

In an interview during the expo, 8-year-old JoJo candidly discussed what sparked his interest in science, particularly the cosmos. “My dad saw how good I was at video games, so he thought I was smart enough to do science experiments on YouTube,” he said. “STEM careers are important because we need smart scientists to solve the world’s problems.”

The jam-packed day of hands-on STEM activities included a balloon rocket experiment and race, designed to demonstrate thrust, action and reaction – which, on a larger scale, are the same principles and mechanics that can propel a rocket into space.

JoJo had quite a spirited recollection of the event as he giggled and cheered himself on.

“I have two parts that I like about the race: one is that I learned how to tie a knot…and two, is that my balloon won the race – yeah!!”

For students and adults alike, the expo also offered a variety of static displays and aerial demonstrations, notably that of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, who conducted their first dual performance in more than 12 years.

Star attractions also included the U.S. Army Golden Knights, among a variety of air and ground presentations from military services and other organizations with awe-striking aircraft such as the B-52 Stratofortress, F-16 Fighting Falcon, UH-1N Iroquois, C-5 Galaxy, C-17 Globemaster III and KC-135 Stratotanker.