The runway at Hunter Army Airfield, stretching 11,375 feet, has served over the decades — in times of peace and in times of war—– as the takeoff and landing place for America’s defenders. On June 21, the 5K/10K Flightline “Dirty Up” Run event will give military and civilians alike an opportunity to walk or run on the expansive runway, get an up close look at military aircraft on display, and hang out with those who fly and maintain the aircraft.
“The whole reason for this base is for that runway,” said Lt. Col. Will Bowman, Garrison Commander at Hunter. “A lot of families live and drive around the Perimeter Road area, so they’re always on the fringe of the main feature of this installation, the runway. And that’s true for the community, too. They see the aircraft coming out of Hunter, off that runway, and in the skies over Savannah and Chatham County. We thought it would be a great idea to open our gates to our families, and to the community to come on and actually have a fun event that features the runway.”
The “Dirty Up” Run will be a timed, chipped event open to runners of all skill levels from both the military and civilian communities. The run begins at 8 a.m. but after the run, visitors are invited to stay and enjoy the music, food and static displays until 1 p.m.
“Dirty-Up” is an aviation term for when an aircraft lands, their landing gear is down and a cloud of dust comes up. “I think it’s going to be a great morning. We’re going to have bands and vendors. We’re going to have static displays from our tenant aviation units out there so people can enjoy seeing military aircraft up close, and talking to some of the Soldiers that work on those aircraft. It will be a great event for kids,” Bowman said.
Both the 5K and 10K run routes will take runners along the flightline. Water and sports drinks will be provided at stations along the route. The run will be held rain or shine, although a threat of lightning could delay or possibly postpone the run.
Participants should register at Active.com. The cost until June 8 is $25 for DoD ID cardholders and $30 for civilians. The cost until June 19 is $30 for DoD ID cardholders and $35 for civilians. The cost to register on the day of the run is $45 per person.
For more information, call 912-315-5078.
All pre-registered participants will be given a T-shirt that was designed to be a prized event souvenir. Trophies will be awarded to the top three overall male/female 5k and 10k runners.
Awards will be given to the top two winners in each age group.
“We are encouraging everybody to come out and enjoy the morning with us,” Bowman said. You don’t have to be a registered runner to watch the run, or to just walk the length of the runway and back.”
Bowman said runners and other guests will get a sense of the size of the Hunter runway that they can’t get when driving around Abercorn, White Bluff or Middleground Roads. “You see through the fence,” he said, “and there’s only one spot on White Bluff when you can see down that runway. But when you are standing in the middle of that runway, it’s really incredible to see the size of Hunter Army Airfield.”
5K/10K Flightline “Dirty Up” Run Event Facts
The race is open to the public. Runners should register at Active.com. The cost until June 8 is $25 for DoD ID cardholders and $30 for civilians. The cost until June 19 is $30 for DoD ID cardholders and $35 for civilians. The cost to register on the day of the run is $45 per person. For additional information, call 912-315-5078.
Entering Hunter Army Airfield:
Participants and visitors for the 5K/10K Flightline “Dirty Up” Run who do not have Department of Defense identification are asked to enter Hunter Army Airfield through the Montgomery Street gate.
Bowman said gate guards will be expecting visitors for the event and will facilitate their admittance. Drivers should have a valid driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance. Adult passengers must show a valid identification.
“There will be plenty of directional signs,” Bowman said. “From the Montgomery Gate entrance to where they are going to park is about five miles, which may seem like a long way, but they will be driving the exterior perimeter of the airfield itself. It’s an enormous airfield.”
Planned Static Displays, Music For Your Enjoyment:
Aircraft on display will include Blackhawk, and Chinook helicopters; a Coast Guard Dauphin helicopter, an Air Force C130 and other fixed wing aircraft. In addition to the Army, the Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Hunter firefighters will set up displays.
About Hunter Army Airfield
What is now known as Hunter Army Airfield had its beginnings in 1929 as the Savannah Municipal Airport. Since then:
* Aircraft from the Strategic Air Command have taken to the skies from Hunter’s runway in defense of America
* Many helicopter pilots – both American and Vietnamese – trained and honed their combat flying skills over Stewart/Hunter
* Hunter has, on more than one occasion, been the landing place for Air Force One during presidential visits
* Hunter’s 350-acre aircraft parking area made it possible for thousands of 3rd ID Soldiers and many tons of equipment to be deployed from the post to defend America and her interests around the globe, and return when their missions were accomplished.
* Hunter Army Airfield stands ready to serve, whatever the mission. The U.S. Coast Guard flies rescue missions from its base on Hunter.
Hunter Army Airfield invites the military community and the civilian community outside the gates to its first carnival Thursday through Sunday, featuring amusement rides for children and adults, skill games, food concessions and more.
Carnival hours are Thurs., 6-10 p.m.; Fri., 6-11 p.m.; Sat., Noon – 11 p.m. and Sun., 1 – 11 p.m. Tickets are $1 each and 3-4 tickets are required per ride. Wrist bands can be purchased for $25 for unlimited rides.