The 97th Air Mobility Wing and the 71st Flying Training Wing are partnering to fly over several medical centers in Oklahoma to honor our frontline COVID-19 responders and to support the state’s reopening on Friday, May 1, 2020.
The flyovers are a salute to healthcare workers, first responders, transportation drivers, grocery workers, and other essential personnel supporting the COVID-19 effort in Oklahoma. They will feature formations of four C-17 Globemaster IIIs, two KC-135 Stratotankers, and two KC-46 Pegasus aircraft from the 97th AMW and four T-38 Talons, two T-1 Jayhawks, and four T-6 Texan IIs from the 71st FTW.
“It’s an honor to fly for our Oklahomans at the forefront of COVID-19 mitigation efforts," said Col. Matthew Leard, 97th AMW commander. "Our exceptional mobility Airmen have continued to train and this salute is the least we can do to show our appreciation for the workers committed to their missions so that we may continue with ours.”
Aircraft will fly over the locations in 5 minute, separated time blocks. Oklahoma residents will be able to see the flyover from their homes between 9:45 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on Friday. Viewers are encouraged to practice safe social distancing and to refrain from gathering in large groups to view the flyover.
“We’re thrilled to be part of this Air Force Salutes event with our Altus partners," said Col. Corey Simmons, 71st FTW commander. "I can’t think of a better way of recognizing Oklahoma’s healthcare workers than a flyover while we conduct training operations. Service before self has long been an Air Force core value, and seeing the rest of the nation’s essential personnel rally behind a common cause has made it abundantly clear it’s an American core value as well."
The aircraft will begin their route north of Oklahoma City and will fly over Summit Medical Center, St. Anthony Healthplex North, Mercy Hospital OKC, INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center, St. Anthony Hospital - OKC, OKC VA Health Care System, OU Medical Center, OU Children’s Hospital, Norman Regional in Moore, and Norman Regional Hospital. The C-17s, KC-135s, KC-46s will also perform flyovers for the Comanche Regional Hospital in Lawton and Jackson County Memorial Hospital in Altus before continuing additional training around 10:30 a.m. The T-38s, T-1s and T-6s will also fly over Saint Mary's and Bass Integris in Enid at 10:30 a.m.
The 97th AMW and 71st FTW welcomes and encourages viewers to tag the bases on social media in photos and videos they capture during the flyovers using #AirForceSalutes, #MobilitysHometown, and#VanceProud.
For more information, please contact the 97th AMW Public Affairs Office at 580-481-7700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.