ST PAUL, Minn. — There will be plenty of eyes on the sky Wednesday, as the Minnesota National Guard and 934th Air Wing of the Air Force Reserve conduct another round of flyovers to honor those working on the front lines against COVID-19.
Military officials say Wednesday's flyovers are likely the 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.
“Last week’s flyovers were an opportunity for us to show our appreciation for those on the frontlines 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."
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.
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; Ashland, Bayfield, Eagle River Florence, and Superior in Wisconsin; and Crystal Falls, Ironwood, and Ontonagon in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Military officials remind those wanting to witness the flyovers that the estimated time windows can be impacted by a number of factors, including weather and air traffic. They also emphasize that these flyovers are incorporated into previously scheduled training missions.
"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.”