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Air Force, Guard Jets Perform Phoenix Flyover To Honor Responders

By Scott Bourque
Associated Press
Published: Wednesday, April 29, 2020 - 9:28am
Updated: Saturday, May 2, 2020 - 12:01pm

Over a dozen U.S. Air Force and Arizona Air National Guard aircraft on Friday afternoon conducted a flyover above metro Phoenix to honor health care workers and others responding to public needs during the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials said the flight path took the jets over Buckeye, Luke, Litchfield Park, Surprise, Waddell, Goodyear, Tolleson, Phoenix and Tempe before they head fly over Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Deer Valley, Glendale, Peoria, Sun City West and El Mirage.

Luke Air Force Base officials said participating aircraft included F-35A fighters and F-16 fighters from wings based at Luke and a KC-135 tanker from the Air Guard's 161st Air Refueling Wing at Sky Harbor International Airport.

Air Force Brig. Gen. Todd Canterbury said the participating military personnel were honored to extend heartfelt gratitude to health care workers and others fighting the outbreak. He added that participants want those who watched the flyover to “enjoy the display of American airpower, resolve and pride while keeping frontline responders in their hearts."

Canterbury says it was a privilege to fly over those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I got goosebumps every time we flew over one of our major medical centers," Canterbury said. "I know those men and women are slogging it out in the trenches of this warfare, and it was my honor to be on top and look down and say ‘we’re here for you.’ The military has enjoyed fantastic support since the Global War on Terror, this was our chance to give back and say thank you."

flyover map
Luke Air Force Base

Canterbury is commander of the 56th Fighter Wing based at Luke.

Luke's announcement advised residents to view the flyover from their homes and to maintain social distancing during the event. “They should also refrain from traveling to landmarks, hospitals and gathering in large groups to view the flyover," the statement said.

The stars on the map represent hospitals, downtown areas and other landmarks the Air Force wanted to fly past, says Staff Sgt. Amber Carter with Luke public affairs.