Blue Angels, Thunderbirds demonstrate that 'America's spirit will prevail' over virus crisis
By CARLOS BONGIOANNI | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 2, 2020
Stars and Stripes is making stories on the coronavirus pandemic available free of charge. See other free reports here. Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter here. Please support our journalism with a subscription.
WASHINGTON — Leaving white contrails streaked across a picture-perfect blue sky, powerful military jets with the Navy Blue Angels and Air Force Thunderbirds roared over the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area Saturday in a show of support for those on the front lines in the coronavirus war.
Similar flyovers have been scheduled over the next few weeks for numerous cities across the United States as a way for the military community to express its thanks to health care workers, first responders and other essential personnel.
In a Defense Department press release, Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David Goldfein and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday were quoted as saying the aerial demonstrations were a way to show that "we are all in this together and that America's spirit will prevail."
The flyovers will incur no additional cost to taxpayers, according to the DOD release. Normally the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds perform in dozens of air shows over the course of a year. However, many of those shows have been canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdowns.
The pilots, however, must meet a minimum number of flight hours required for their profession, so the flyovers allow them to maintain their proficiencies, while also giving a salute to those risking their own lives while serving on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak.
F/A-18 Hornets with the Navy's Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron followed by F-16 Fighting Falcons with the Air Force's Thunderbirds flight demonstration squadron fly past the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Saturday, May 2, 2020.
CARLOS BONGIOANNI/STARS AND STRIPES