The US Air Force’s Thunderbirds and US Navy’s Blue Angels will combine to perform over some cities and conduct separate air-shows over others.
Announcing ‘Operation America Strong’ on Wednesday, President Donald Trump compared the “incredible” performance pilots to the nation’s frontline healthcare workers.
“This is a tribute to them, to our warriors, because they’re equal warriors to those incredible pilots and all of the fighters that we have for the more traditional flights that we win,” said the president.
On Tuesday, the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels were seen practising together over Pensacola, Florida, near to the Blue Angels’s base. It is the first time since June 2017 that the two flight demonstration teams have combined.
The Thunderbirds meanwhile paid tribute to health workers earlier this month with a show over Las Vegas, close to their home at Nellis Air Force Base.
President Trump said military members proposed the idea and “wanted to show [their] support to the American medical workers who just like military members in a time of war are fiercely running towards the fight”.
The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that senior military officers at the Pentagon had been planning the tour as a bipartisan show of support to those ‘pitching in’ during the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is just a sincere thank-you,” said one senior military official, speaking on the condition of anonymity before the announcement. “It’s one way to acknowledge those who are pitching in.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed last week that more than 9,000 US health care workers had contracted Covid-19 and at least 27 had died to date.
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