The Air Force’s celebrated Thunderbirds honored front-line COVID-19 responders and essential workers Friday with a dramatic formation flight over Los Angeles and Orange counties.
“It is an honor for our team to salute the countless Californians who have committed to keeping the communities safe during this difficult time in our nation,” said Lt. Col. John Caldwell, commander of the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron. “We hope to give onlookers a touching display of American resolve that honors those serving on the frontline of our fight against COVID-19.”
A formation of six F-16C/D Fighting Falcons conducted the flyovers Friday as a salute to health care workers, first responders, military and other essential personnel while standing in solidarity with all Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Across the Southland, but particularly at hospitals, workers and residents gathered with cameras in hand in hopes of catching a glimpse of the squadron. The F-16s passed in a flash, but with an impressive roar.
The squadron began its Southland flyover at 1:35 p.m., passing over Orange County, cruising north over Irvine, Santa Ana, Garden Grove and Fullerton, before advancing into Los Angeles County. The Thunderbirds headed north past the City of Industry, then circled over East Los Angeles and moved west, roughly over the Santa Monica (10) Freeway, then flew south along the coast and passed over Long Beach and then south to Newport Beach and east over Santa Ana, before moving toward Riverside County at about 2 p.m. The Thunderbirds made a secondary pass over northern Los Angeles County near Santa Clarita shortly after 3 p.m.
The Air Force encouraged people who took photos to tag them on social media as #AmericaStrong and #Thunderbirds.
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