C-130 flyovers planned for May 6 to thank healthcare workers, first responders

On May 6, C-130s from the Montana Air National Guard will conduct flyovers in 21 Montana cities as a tribute to healthcare workers and first responders in the COVID1-9 response efforts.Two C-130s from the 120th Airlift Wing will fly as part of the Air Force Salutes flyover program with similar events planned throughout the nation, according to the 120th.

The purpose of the flyovers is to demonstrate the Department of the Air Force’s continued readiness during the national COVID-19 response, while saluting the American heroes at the forefront in the fight against COVID-19. The flyovers are also intended to lift morale in towns, cities and states across America due to the severe health and economic impacts that have resulted from COVID-19,” according to a release from the 120th.

“The Montana Air National Guard salutes each Montanan serving on the frontlines in our combat against COVID-19,” said Col. Buel Dickson, commander, 120th Airlift Wing. “These flyovers are a small gesture of appreciation to the heroes across the state. You epitomize the ethos as Montanans helping Montanans. We are indebted to your service and appreciate your efforts in trying to keep our state safe.”

The event begins in Great Falls Wednesday morning with a two-ship flyover of Benefis Hospital. Then the aircraft will split off with one taking an eastern route and the other covering the western part of Montana. Together they are scheduled to fly over more than 20 cities and towns Wednesday, focusing on health care facilities in the regions they visit.

Flyovers such as these are conducted at no additional cost to the taxpayer and serve as training for aircrews. In addition to this event, the Montana Air National Guard has deployed 72 Airmen throughout the state to help defend against the pandemic, according to the Guard release.