Vance, Altus aircraft to salute hospitals with flyovers Friday

Aircraft from Vance Air Force Base, similar to these, will conduct flyovers at 10:30 a.m. Friday at St. Mary's Regional Medical Center and Integris Bass Baptist Health Center. 

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VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. — Aircraft from Vance Air Force Base and Altus Air Force Base will conduct flyovers at several hospitals in Enid and the Oklahoma City metro on Friday to salute health care professionals and other essential workers for their service during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 97th Air Mobility Wing at Altus will provide four C-17 Globemaster IIIs, two KC-135 Stratotankers and two KC-46 Pegasus aircraft and the 71st Flying Training Wing at Vance will provide formations of four T-38 Talons, two T-1 Jayhawks and four T-6 Texan II aircraft.

"The flyovers are a salute to health care workers, first responders, transportation drivers, grocery workers and other essential personnel supporting the COVID-19 effort in Oklahoma," according to a press release.

The flyovers in Enid are scheduled for about 9:35 to 10 a.m. Friday at St. Mary's Regional Medical Center and Integris Bass Baptist Health Center and will include the aircraft from Vance.

Earlier flyovers in the Oklahoma City area will include both Vance and Altus aircraft starting at 9:45 a.m. north of Oklahoma City at Summit Medical Center, then proceeding south to St. Anthony Healthplex North, Mercy Hospital OKC, Integris Baptist Medical Center, St. Anthony Hospital-OKC, OKC VA Health Care System, OU Medical Center, OU Children’s Hospital, Norman Regional in Moore and finishing at Norman Regional Hospital at approximately 10:20 a.m.

The Altus aircraft also will perform flyovers for the Comanche Regional Hospital in Lawton and Jackson County Memorial Hospital in Altus before continuing additional training around 10:30 a.m.

“We’re thrilled to be part of this Air Force Salutes event with our Altus partners," said Col. Corey Simmons, 71st FTW commander. "I can’t think of a better way of recognizing Oklahoma’s health care workers than a flyover while we conduct training operations. Service before self has long been an Air Force core value, and seeing the rest of the nation’s essential personnel rally behind a common cause has made it abundantly clear it’s an American core value as well."

Col. Matthew Leard, 97th AMW commander, said it is "an honor to fly for our Oklahomans at the forefront of COVID-19 mitigation efforts."

"Our exceptional mobility Airmen have continued to train," Leard said, "and this salute is the least we can do to show our appreciation for the workers committed to their missions so that we may continue with ours.”

Aircraft will fly over the locations in five-minute time blocks. People near the flight paths will be able to see the flyover from their homes between 9:45 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Friday. Viewers are encouraged to practice safe social distancing and to refrain from gathering in large groups to view the flyover.

Photographs and videos of the flyovers can be tagged to social media #AirForceSalutes, #MobilitysHometown and #VanceProud.

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Neal is health, military affairs and religion reporter and columnist for the Enid News & Eagle. Follow him on Twitter, @jamesnealwriter, and online at jamesrneal.com.
Have a question about this story? Do you see something we missed? Do you have a story idea for James? Send an email to jneal@enidnews.com.

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