In Show of Support for Those Treating Frail Patients, U.S. Navy and Air Force Will Perform Screeching Hospital Flyovers

In a bid to lift spirits during the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. military will carry out a series of flyovers across the country in the next two weeks.

The multi-city flyovers by the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, and the Air Force air demonstration squadron, the Thunderbirds, will take place over the parts of the U.S. that have been hit the most by COVID-19, the Department of Defense said in a statement.

Dubbed "America Strong," the flyover series is aimed at paying tribune to the healthcare workers, first responders, and key personnel dealing with the pandemic, it said.

"This is also our way of showing that we are all in this together and that America's spirit will prevail," Gen. Dave Goldfein, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and Adm. Michael Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations, said in the statement.

U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron Thunderbirds
The U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron Thunderbirds perform a flyover on April 11, 2020 in North Las Vegas, Nevada. It will conduct multi-city flyovers over the next two weeks in honor of first responders to the coronavirus crisis. Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images

The statement said that the Air Force and Navy would work with local governments to make sure that distancing guidelines are adhered to, and that air-to-air refueling during transit and no scheduled stops would reduce potential exposure to the virus.

Some of the flyovers will only feature either the Blue Angels or the Thunderbirds so more people can see them. There will be a number of flyovers involving both teams flying in their signature Delta formations simultaneously, with more concrete dates and locations to be released soon.

Normally flying around 30 airshows a year, the Blue Angels, based at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, and the Thunderbirds, at Nellis Air Force Base, Las Vegas, have cancelled performances due to the pandemic.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump said the flyovers were a "signal to all Americans to remain vigilant during the outbreak."

The day before, the aerial teams flew over Pensacola together for the first time in three years. Earlier in April, eight Thunderbird jets flew over Las Vegas in honor of essential workers in the coronavirus outbreak, flying over 18 hospitals and medical facilities, USA Today reported.

Some people on Twitter gave the flyover idea a cool reception, such as BM Lewis, who wrote on Twitter: "Wait a minute. Is Trump sending out the Thunderbirds and the Blue Angels to entertain us as we die? To draw huge crowds to spread Coronavirus? WTH?"

Amee Vanderpool wrote on Twitter to her 290,000 followers: "Trump has now managed to waste more money during the pandemic-says Thunderbirds and Blue Angels will fly over US cities in 'Operation America Strong' to pay tribute to front line healthcare workers.Maybe just get them the PPE they've needed for weeks."

The infographic below, provided by Statista, shows the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the U.S. as of April 24.

Coronavirus U.S. Statista
Number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. as of April 24. Statista