Tops in Blue: Preparation for an incredible event

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kali L. Gradishar
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Getting ready for a large event takes an astronomical effort on many parts. And it's no different when referring to preparation for the arrival of the Air Force's prime expeditionary entertainment unit, Tops in Blue.

Tops in Blue is scheduled to perform at the Northern Quest Casino in Airway Heights, Wash. Jan. 17. "The Fly By" theme, celebrating 60 years of Air Force history, is expected to have the audience on the edge of their seats and send them out the door after the show grinning from ear to ear.

But so much goes into organizing the event, for the hosting location as well as the incoming act.

For Fairchild, preparation began in March 2007 when Tops in Blue sent out a notification for bases requesting a Tops in Blue performance. Team Fairchild chose a date and put its name in the hat, hoping the traveling troupe would make its way to the Inland Northwest. From there, it was a matter of securing a venue to host the event.

"The Northern Quest Casino is accustomed to hosting any event," said Stacy Compton, the family member programs flight chief and Tops in Blue project officer for the base. This made the casino a prime location the performance. "They arranged for seating ushers, security, and valet parking, and it's all in a beautiful, top-notch facility."

Securing the venue was only a mere step on the long checklist of items to complete before Fairchild would be fully prepared to host the Tops in Blue crew.

A team of 92nd Logistics Readiness Squadron members, 92nd Services Squadron and 92nd Medical Group members, public affairs, protocol, lodging and volunteer coordinators was formed to bring together all aspects of the effort.

That team has been "working with the venue to ensure they met all Tops in Blue requirements on the checklists," said Miss Compton. "Tops in Blue provides project officers with a manual that really has it all down to a neat and tidy science."

Though everything may be laid out in the manual, it's still a boat-load of work.

"They'll be coming from Mountain Home (Air Force Base). So when they get here, we'll make sure they are well fed, have a cozy place to stay and have transportation," Miss Compton noted.

"We'll also have to make sure they get loaded and re-loaded and off to the next show," she added.

In addition to ensuring the Tops in Blue team has everything they need to perform here, the base is also providing transportation from the Deel Community Center. The bus will leave the Deel at 5:45 p.m. Those who take advantage of this opportunity will be seated first, beating the rushing crowd from general admissions.

"If you've never been to a show, it's really something to see. It's such a high energy show and it's so great that it comes straight from our own Air Force Airmen. When you walk out, you feel really proud to be a part of the Air Force," revealed Miss Compton. "I encourage everyone to attend the show."