LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --
The Air Force Reserve 913th Airlift Group honored healthcare workers, first responders and essential workers who are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic by flying C-130’s Hercules over hospitals across central Arkansas, May 8.
The flyover is part of an Air Force effort to show support and appreciation. There were four C-130 aircraft to represent the main Air Force flying units at Little Rock Air Force Base. The multiple aircraft formations made its way from Jacksonville and split into different formations in order to reach Conway, Hot Springs, Pine Bluff, Little Rock, Searcy, Fayetteville, Jonesboro, and West Memphis before returning back to base.
“It feels like an understatement to say that this is a challenging time for our country,” said Lt. Col. Paul Campbell, 327th Airlift Squadron director of operations. “While our struggles may feel individual we are collectively coping with the impact. Our goal of this special flyover is to not only say thank you to all those healthcare workers who are on the frontline battling this virus, but to also show unity with our community in this difficult time.”
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has taxed the human, material and financial resources of individuals, communities around the country. This unprecedented public health crisis is impacting every aspect of daily life, but the toll on healthcare professionals in particular is immense.
People who live in the local area of the flyover route were encouraged to view the formation from the safety of their home and continue to adhere to social distancing practices.
“Flyovers hold a special purpose as they can bring awareness to events that stir the hearts and souls of patriotic Americans,” said Maj. Andrew Maston, 327AS pilot. “Every day, we are inspired by those in our community who have stepped up in both big and small ways. Whether it is our health care workers who are putting in long hours and sacrificing time with family to provide care to those affected by the virus or to those who are doing their part to help minimize the spread of the virus by practicing social distancing, we thank you.”
While the local flyovers support the frontline workers fighting against COVID-19, the flights also fulfill critical training requirements for pilots.
There are currently more than 54,300 DoD personnel supporting COVID relief efforts with almost 15,000 deployed in support of response operations. Nearly 5,000 Navy, Air Force, and Army personnel are Reservists and 35,750 National Guard professionals are supporting the COVID-19 response around the nation.