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Trump says military’s Blue Angels, Thunderbirds will perform over cities

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels perform aerial acts during the 2019 Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show, Nov. 8. 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Carter Denton)

At a time when millions of Americans are sheltering at home, President Donald Trump revealed what the military has in mind to raise spirits: flyovers from the Navy and Air Force’s demonstration teams.

Trump said the Air Force’s Thunderbirds and the Navy’s Blue Angels will conduct high-profile flyovers of American cities.

“What we are doing is paying tribute to our front-line health care workers confronting COVID and it’s really a signal to all Americans to remain vigilant during the outbreak,” Trump said Wednesday.

The Blue Angels and Thunderbirds combined Tuesday to pass together over Pensacola, Florida, the first time in three years that the two aerial teams have combined in the city. They soared over both Pensacola’s beach and downtown, at times trailing white smoke, as seen in videos taken of the demonstrations.

The Blue Angels are based in Pensacola.

The last time the F/A-18 Hornets of the Blue Angels and F-16 Fighting Falcons of the Thunderbirds combined in Pensacola was in April 2017 for a practice sessions.

USAF Thunderbirds flying in close formation over Keesler Air Force Base, Miss.
(Adam Bond/WikiCommons)

Eight of the Thunderbird jets flew over Las Vegas earlier this month “to show appreciation and support for the healthcare workers, first responders and other essential personnel in Las Vegas and around the nation who are working on the front lines to combat the coronavirus,” the Thunderbirds said in a statement on its website.

The team, based at Nellis Air Force Base on the outskirts of Las Vegas, tweeted that its pilots flew over 18 hospitals and other medical facilities.

“It is an honor to fly for the Americans at the forefront of our nation’s fight against the coronavirus,” Air Force Lt. Col. John Caldwell, Thunderbirds commander and leader, was quoted as saying.

But on Twitter, not all were thrilled at the latest plans for flyovers. One commenter questioned whether the flyovers are money well spent.

Twitter user @girlsreallyrule pointed to the flyovers to say “Trump has now managed to waste more money during the pandemic.”

Another, from @JohnnyCurly asked “Are they going to drop COVID tests on our beleaguered cities?”

And @BMLewis2 questioned whether Trump is sending out the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds “to entertain us as we die?”

And Trump? He said he’s thrilled at the prospect, honoring both the military and medical workers.

“I want to see those shows. I’ve seen them many times and I can’t get enough of them,” he said.


© 2020 USA Today