Team Barksdale Tribute
By Master Sgt. Ted Daigle, 307th Bomb Wing
/ Published May 04, 2020
BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --
Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 307th Bomb Wing and their active duty counterparts assigned to the 2nd BW performed flyovers in Baton Rouge and New Orleans May 1 to honor the efforts of medical and health care professionals, essential employees, and volunteers there combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. They flew two B-52 Stratofortresses alongside F-15 Strike Eagles from the 159th Fighter Wing of the Louisiana Air National Guard.
These Louisiana workers have fought on the front lines in an on-going battle against the novel coronavirus that has ravaged the state, taking more than 1,800 lives since March.
“We thank the dedicated men and women who are on the frontline combating the COVID-19 health crisis,” said Maj. Gen. James Dawkins Jr., 8th Air Force and Joint-Global Strike Operations Center commander. “The special bomber demonstrations are not only a tribute to these individuals, but also serve as a visible reminder of Americans’ solidarity and drive during a very challenging time.”
The 343rd Bomb Squadron represented the Air Force Reserve portion of the total force enterprise effort, flying one of the B-52’s assigned to the 2nd BW.
“We are normally on the front lines and understand what it means to risk your life for the greater good, that is was the medical community is doing for all of us now,” said Lt. Col. Michael Green, 343rd BS commander. “This flyover is just a small way to show our appreciation and to let them know how thankful we are for their efforts.”
The scheduled flyover paths took the jets over each town for approximately 20 minutes each, passing directly over a dozen health care facilities. Spectators took vantage points from rooftops, riverbanks and roads as the jets passed over iconic spots including Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge and the French Quarter in New Orleans.
The U.S. Air Force performs almost 1,000 flyovers each year. They are flown in conjunction with regularly scheduled training missions designed to maintain the lethality and readiness of Air Force pilots and maintainers. Flyovers are coordinated into existing flying schedules to avoid additional cost for taxpayers.
The 307th BW regularly incorporates flyovers at large sporting events, air shows and other patriotic venues as part of routine sorties.