KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — Over the past few weeks, people in the hardest-hit areas of the eastern U.S. have been treated to flyovers from the Navy's Blue Angels and Air Force's Thunderbirds — saluting essential workers. Now Oregonians will get a similar salute from the local Air National Guard units.
The Oregon Air National Guard has scheduled multiple F-15 Eagle Flyovers near hospitals and other locations throughout the state during May "in order to salute Oregonians on the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic and lift morale during a time of severe health and economic impacts."
For the northern areas of Oregon, those flyovers will be conducted by the 142nd Fighter Wing, based in Portland. For southern Oregon, it will be the 173rd Fighter Wing from Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls.
“This is a joint effort to demonstrate support and give thanks to healthcare workers, first responders, and other essential workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 response; the goal is to unite all Oregonians during this time,” said Stephen Bomar, Director of Public Affairs for the Oregon Military Department. “This effort also demonstrates the full capabilities of our Oregon National Guard Citizen Soldiers and Airmen. Whether on the ground delivering needed Personal Protective Equipment throughout Oregon or in the skies protecting the Pacific Northwest, the Guard is in this together with Oregonians.”
People are encouraged to view the flights from the safety of their own homes, practicing physical distancing. Anyone living around the listed hospitals will likely get a chance to see and hear the jets.
“We are honored to pay tribute to everyone who has served on the frontlines during this pandemic,” said Brig. General Donna Prigmore, Commander of the Oregon Air National Guard. “This is a small way of showing our gratitude for the big sacrifices that our healthcare workers, emergency responders, and so many others have made. We thank all of you.”
The flyovers are scheduled for the following south, central, and eastern Oregon locations around these times on Friday, May 8:
- 10:10 a.m. Lake District Hospital, Lakeview, Ore.
- 10:25 a.m. Harney District Hospital, Burns, Ore.
- 10:40 a.m. Saint Alphonsus Medical Center, Ontario, Ore.
- 11:10 a.m. Saint Charles Prineville, Prineville, Ore.
- 11:15 a.m. Saint Charles Redmond, Redmond, Ore.
- 11:20 a.m. Saint Charles Bend, Bend, Ore.
More flyovers are scheduled for additional locations on the next Friday, May 15. Those will be announced in a forthcoming statement from the Oregon Air National Guard.
The Air Force Thunderbirds are also scheduled to fly over the Pacific Northwest in late May, the Oregon Military Department said.