Niagara and Vermont Airmen salute Western New York Covid-19 frontline workers with flyover

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kelsey Martinez
  • 914th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from the 914th Air Refueling Wing here and 158th Fighter Wing, Burlington, Vermont, conducted a flyover salute over parts of Western New York on May 12.

Following routine training operations, a KC-135 from the 914th and F-35s from the 158th honored the essential personnel working the front lines during the Covid-19 pandemic with a Salute to WNY flyover of hospitals, emergency response and other facilities.

“On behalf of a grateful Air Force, thank you to all healthcare workers, essential personnel and emergency responders,” said Col. Brian Burr, commander of the 914th ARW.

The Air Force regularly flies training missions to keep aircrew and maintainers ready to fly, fight and win at a moment’s notice.

“Your selfless service to our community is a testament to the toughness this area of our country is known for,” said Burr. “Please know that we stand united with you.”

The flyover was intended to target as many hospitals and first responder locations as possible.

“Creating a route that would encompass as many people as possible was a challenge,” said Capt. Brian Haun, the aircraft commander for the flyover from the 328th Air Refueling Squadron. 

Many hospitals including Mount St. Mary’s, Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Buffalo VA Medical Center, Kenmore Mercy Hospital, and others were included in the flight route.

“It was overwhelming to see such a positive ground response,” said Haun. “It seemed like thousands of people were awaiting the flyover.”

Supporting the community that continues to support NFARS is crucial.

“This was an amazing opportunity to give back to the community that continues to support our base,” he said.

Haun expressed the fact that it was a group effort to ensure the flyover was a success.

“Not only was there a lot of involvement from base leadership, but there was a lot of work done behind the scene as well,” he said.

Members of the 914th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron worked long days to contribute to the “no fail” mission, along with other members from the 914th ARW and 158th FW.

“Thank you, sincerely, for the hard-working community this base has established,” said Haun. “Everything that is done on a daily basis by our Airmen is what made this flight possible.”