The Minnesota National Guard along with the 934th Air Wing of the Air Force Reserve will be conducting additional statewide flyovers in recognition of those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic response as part of Operation American Resolve.

“Last week’s flyovers were an opportunity for us to show our appreciation for those on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight,” said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, the adjutant general of the Minnesota National Guard. “We chose several hospitals as flyover points, but it is truly only a symbolic gesture, as the intent isn’t to honor only those facilities, but all the essential workers statewide. Whether you are a medical provider or a meat packing employee; a teacher or gas station attendant; an emergency responder or a garbage collector, your work and the care you provide have kept our state safe and functioning. Thank you for your service and your sacrifice.”

“We are proud to extend our gratitude across Minnesota and honor those who have been working non-stop to keep our community safe by thanking them with this series of flyovers,” said Col. Chris Lay, 934th Airlift Wing commander. “Together with our Air National Guard partners, we want Minnesotans to know that this American Resolve is a tribute to the spirit instilled within our Nation and we will prevail beyond this difficult time.”

The flights scheduled for Wednesday (May 13) are the second and likely final part of a statewide effort to recognize health care workers, emergency responders, food industry and other essential workers throughout the state that have done their part to keep the state functioning during the stay at home order.

The aircraft flying these missions will be combinations of F-16 Fighting Falcon and C-130 Hercules aircraft from the Minnesota National Guard’s 148th Fighter Wing out of Duluth, and the 133rd Airlift Wing out of Saint Paul, as well as from the Air Force Reserve’s 934th Airlift Wing.

“Our crews must fly regularly to maintain their proficiency,” said Col. James Cleet, 133rd Airlift Wing Commander, “This is an outstanding way to both train our aircrew and to recognize those in our community that are on the frontline working hard for the citizens of Minnesota.”

The flight path for Wednesday will reach the following communities: Aitken, Albert Lea, Alexandria, Baudette, Bemidji, Big Fork, Blue Earth, Burnsville, Cloquet, Cook, Crosby, Detroit Lakes, Duluth, Edina, Ely, Fergus Falls, Grand Marais, Grand Rapids, Hermantown, Hibbing, International Falls, Jackson, Luverne, Mankato, Marshall, Moorhead, New Prague, New Ulm, Northfield, Redwood Falls, Rochester, Roseau, Shakopee, Silver Bay, Thief River Falls, Two Harbors, Virginia, and Worthington in Minnesota and Ashland, Bayfield, Eagle River Florence, and Superior in Wisconsin, and Crystal Falls, Ironwood, and Ontonagon in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The schedule indicates the flyover in Redwood Falls will take place at approximately 12:30 p.m.

Flyovers are set to fly near local medical facilities in each community, if possible.

“Our Guardsmen live and work in these cities. The Minnesota National Guard has units and facilities in 58 communities throughout the state. They have always supported us, this is a small way we can show that we support them too,” said Col. Christopher Blomquist, 148th Fighter Wing Commander. “Thank you for your service.”

These flyovers are incorporated into previously scheduled training missions.

There is potential for the times to flex based on the training missions, weather and/or airspace availability. A variance of a few minutes either side of the scheduled time may be unavoidable. If there is a weather delay or cancellation an update to the advisory will be provided.

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– Image courtesy of the Minnesota National Guard