- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 28, 2020

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and U.S. Navy Blue Angels on Tuesday conducted a roaring “Thank You” flyover of New York City as a tribute to health care workers and first responders on the front lines of the coronavirus fight.

New York City was the first location to see the showcase by the elite military demonstration squadrons. Trenton, New Jersey and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania will also see the flyovers Tuesday.

Chicago, Indianapolis, and Austin, Texas are among other cities expected to see a “salute” over the next two weeks.

“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, on Sunday.

“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 12 high-performance aircraft were seen flying in precise formation over New York, leaving behind distinct streaks of white smoke at approximately noon EDT. The formations included six of the Air Force’s F-16C/D Fighting Falcons and another six F-18 C/D Hornets.

In a statement, the U.S. Navy instructed observers to view the demonstrations “from the safety of their home-quarantine and should maintain all social distancing guidelines during this event,” and advised viewers to refrain from traveling to landmarks or hospitals and gathering in large groups.

“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.”

• Lauren Toms can be reached at lmeier@washingtontimes.com.

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