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Coronavirus flyover pays tribute to health care workers across Massachusetts

F-15 fighter jets flyover the Holyoke Soldiers' Home as part of a tribute to health care workers on May 6, 2020.

LEON NGUYEN, MASSLIVE.COM/TNS

By JIM KINNEY | MassLive.com | Published: May 6, 2020

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WESTFIELD, Mass. (Tribune News Service) — The 104th Fighter Wing, based at Barnes Air National Guard Base and its F-15 aircraft, flew a “thank you” mission over a dozen health care facilities across Massachusetts on Wednesday afternoon.

The idea was to honor frontline responders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Western Massachusetts locations included the Holyoke Soldiers' Home, Holyoke Medical Center and Mercy Medical Center and Baystate Medical Center in Springfield; the VA Medical Center and Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton; and Baystate Noble Hospital and Western Massachusetts Hospital in Westfield, as well as facilities in and around Worcester and Boston.

Gov. Charlie Baker tweeted his thanks to the 104th “for saluting our front-line heroes with an F-15 flyover.”

The flyover, which took place on National Nurses Day, was a part of Operation American Resolve, a nationwide salute to those supporting COVID-19 response efforts. Air Force units around the country took part in similar events.

“It is a privilege for the men and women of the Massachusetts Air National Guard to provide a thank you to medical personnel, first responders, truck drivers, grocery store personnel and the countless Americans coming together to support the COVID-19 response,” said Lt. Col. Jay Talbert, 104th Fighter Wing pilot, Operations Group. “We wish we could fly over every community battling against COVID-19, but please know your fellow Citizen-Airmen from the Massachusetts Air National Guard are thinking of all of you and are proud to support and serve with you.”

And two of the Pentagon’s demonstration teams, the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels, have been making flyovers of American cities over the past few weeks in an effort to thank frontline workers and first responders.

The 104th said that the flights are during normal flying hours and are part of the unit's regular training mission. The tribute flybys are not done at additional expense to the taxpayer.

The Air Force welcomes and encourage viewers to tag us on social media in photos and videos of the flyover with hashtags #AirForceSalutes #AFFlyover and #MassSalutes.

©2020 MassLive.com, Springfield, Mass.
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