JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. --
The 62nd Airlift Wing (AW) saluted the American heroes at the forefront in the fight against COVID-19 during an Air Force Salutes morale flyover throughout Washington State’s Puget Sound region, May 8.
“The 62nd AW salutes each American serving on the frontlines in combat against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Robert V. Lankford, 62nd Operations Group commander. “We are grateful for the opportunity to show our appreciation to local heroes, and look forward to a time when we can embrace one another without fear.”
The wing’s C-17 West Coast Demonstration Team flew two C-17 Globemaster IIIs over more than 40 healthcare facilities, including those in Olympia, Tacoma and the Seattle metropolitan areas, as well as other areas of interest.
The first known case of COVID-19 in the United States was at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Washington, which was one of the healthcare facilities over which the Demo Team flew.
“It was so nice to see the Air Force and JBLM [Joint Base Lewis-McChord] recognize our caregivers for their amazing work in the fight against COVID-19,” said Janine Holbrook, chief nursing officer, Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett. “We certainly appreciate the show of support and encouragement, because we’re all in this together.”
The 62nd AW also encouraged the local community to take pictures of the flyover at their location and submit it for a photo contest. Lankford will judge the photos and the winner will be announced on the wing’s Facebook page May 15. They will receive the patch and a signed photo of the Demo Team.
The World Health Organization declared a public health emergency of international concern for COVID-19, Jan. 3. Since then, approximately 16,000 deaths have been attributed to the virus in Washington State.
The Air Force is hosting Air Force Salutes flyovers throughout the nation’s largest metropolitan areas in an effort to show appreciation to the thousands of American heroes who are at the front line battling COVID-19 and providing the support that America needs.
Maj. Candice Allen, 446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs, also contributed to this report.