"The Wing airmen and I offer our sincerest gratitude to all the healthcare workers, first responders, service members, other essential personnel and all their families who have put our communities first by serving on the front lines during this pandemic," said Col. Taft O. Aujero, commander, 129th Rescue Wing. "These flyovers are for you, as we salute you for your service and sacrifice.
Here's what Bay Area residents would've seen -- an aerial formation including one HC-130J Combat King II aircraft and two HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopters. The flight pattern was specifically tailored to flyover Bay Area medical facilities.
Just arrived at Moffett Field, temperature checks and masks. Another reminder of our new reality & that this is a Memorial Day like no other - The 129th Rescue Wing, California Air National Guard will perform flyovers all over #BayArea today to honour first responders #covid19 pic.twitter.com/HAclcK7lLT— KrisReyes (@KrisReyes) May 25, 2020
The route for the Memorial Day flyover tribute included, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente, VA Palo Alto Health Care, Stanford Hospital, Mills Health Center, UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion, Sutter Health Novato Community Hospital and Alameda Hospital.
"We are honored to do this basically to show the military's appreciation for the people on the frontlines of this COVID battle," said Col. Jeff Waldman with the California Air National Guard.
Both vets and healthcare workers looked on at VA Palo Alto Medical Center, touched by the salute.
Spent some time with healthcare workers on the frontlines of #covid19 @VAPaloAlto watching California Air National Guard doing a flyover in their honor, as part of #AmericaStrong #InThisTogether pic.twitter.com/cWwh6S0Yk9— KrisReyes (@KrisReyes) May 25, 2020
"It lets our health care workers that they are appreciated by our military. Our military workers have given us every freedom and now our health careworkers have to answer the bell to make sure everybody is safe," said Thomas Fitzgerald, a veteran and hospital director at VA Palo Alto Medical Center.
The campaign #AmericaStrong launched in April, conducting flyovers all over the country to show solidarity with healthcare workers. The flyover, extra meaningful to many at the VA Palo Alto Medical Center because it falls on Memorial Day.
"The primary purpose of Memorial Day is to actually honor soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines that did not make it home from combat," said Dr. Dean Winslow, professor at Stanford University and a healthcare worker at VA Palo Alto Medical Center. "To couple it with this very beautiful, meaningful flyover is certainly a very nice gesture."
California Air National Guard doing a flyover in #bayarea between 12:30-3:30pm today to honour those on the frontlines of #COVID19. Part of #AmericaStrong and #InThisTogether initiative by Navy and Air Force to salute healthcare workers : pic.twitter.com/BSMbEYPGRr— KrisReyes (@KrisReyes) May 25, 2020