Video by Staff Sgt. Cory Bush
“We are truly excited to take to the skies with our Navy counterparts for a nation-wide tribute to the men and women keeping our communities safe.” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. John Caldwell, Thunderbird 1 and mission commander for the flyover. “We hope to give Americans a touching display of American resolve that honors those serving on the frontline of our fight with COVID-19.”
A formation of 6 F-16C/D Fighting Flacon and 6 F-18C/D Hornet aircraft will conduct these flyovers as a collaborative salute from the Air Force and Navy to recognize healthcare workers, first responders, military, and other essential personnel while standing in solidarity with all Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are incredibly honored to have the opportunity to salute those working on the frontline of the COVID-19 response, we are in awe of your strength and resilience,” said Cmdr. Brian Kesselring, U.S. Navy Blue Angels commanding officer and flight leader. “Thank you to all of those in essential industries keeping our nation moving forward. We will get through this. We are all in this together.”
This mission, the first of several planned over the coming weeks, is the culmination of more than a month of planning and coordination between the two teams and numerous city and government offices.
Residents along the flight path can expect a few seconds of jet noise as the aircraft pass overhead, along with the sight of 12 high-performance aircraft flying close in precise formation.
Flyovers in Newark, New York City and surrounding boroughs will start at noon (EST) and last approximately 35 minutes. Flyovers in Trenton will start at 1:45 p.m. (EST) and last approximately 10 minutes. Flyovers in Philadelphia will start at 2 p.m. (EST) and last approximately 20 minutes.
Residents in these areas will be able to see the flyover from the safety of their home- quarantine and should maintain all social distancing guidelines during this event. They should also refrain from traveling to landmarks, hospitals and gathering in large groups to view the flyover. A detailed flight route will be released on the day prior to the flyover.
The teams welcome and encourage viewers to tag the flyover on social media with the hashtag #AmericaStrong.