WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTVO) — The Navy’s Blue Angels and the Air Force Thunderbirds are planning a national tour to honor healthcare and essential workers during the COVID-19 crisis.
According to the Washington Post, the Pentagon plans to launch “Operation America Strong,” which will happen over “America’s major cities and some cities that aren’t so major,” according to President Donald Trump.
At Wednesday’s Coronavirus Task Force briefing, Trump said, “This is a tribute to them, our warriors. They’re equal warriors to those incredible pilots and all of the fighters that we have for the more traditional fights.”
The teams will fly jointly over Washington, Baltimore, New York, Newark, Trenton, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Austin, according to a Pentagon memo cited by the Washington Post.
The Blue Angels will fly their F/A-18 Hornets over at least 13 other cities, including Miami, Tampa, Tallahassee and Jacksonville in Florida; Norfolk and Virginia Beach in Virginia; and Detroit, Chicago, Indianapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, and Kingsville and Corpus Christi in Texas.
The Thunderbirds also plan to fly their F-16 Fighting Falcons over San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Ore., and Seattle, the Post reported, noting that the list of cities could change.
The dates for the flyover shows, which will not include stunts, are yet to be announced.
The Thunderbirds recently deployed to the Blue Angel’s home base at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida for joint training, according to The War Zone, which cited video of the two groups flying together.
The Thunderbirds have recently flown over Las Vegas and Denver to show appreciation to front line workers during the pandemic.
The flights will likely be paid for by the teams’ existing budgets as most of their summer air show appearances have been canceled and the groups need to fly a certain number of hours in order to keep up their training, The War Zone notes.