The Potluck

National Guard will fly over Minnesota hospitals Wednesday to honor essential workers

By: - May 5, 2020 11:04 am

Two F-16 Fighting Falcons from 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn. fly in formation over the shores of Lake Superior. Photo by Master Sgt Jason Rolfe/DVIDS.

Fighter jets with the Minnesota National Guard will fly over the state Wednesday around 11 a.m. to recognize essential workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These flyovers are our way of showing solidarity for those who have stepped forward to serve during this pandemic,” Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, adjutant general of the Minnesota National Guard, said in a statement Tuesday. “This is a small way that we can salute those at the forefront of the COVID-19 response for their service and sacrifice.”

The flights are part of a national program honoring health care workers, emergency responders, food industry and other essential workers.

Two F-16s will travel south along the Mississippi River corridor passing over St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd first around 11 a.m. and then flying over hospitals in Little Falls, St. Cloud, Monticello, Coon Rapids, Maple Grove, Robbinsdale, Minneapolis, Hastings and Rochester.

Another air formation including one C-130 Hercules and two F-16’s will fly over 13 hospitals across the Twin Cities including those in Woodbury, St. Paul, Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, Robbinsdale, Maple Grove, Fridley, Maplewood and Stillwater.

“Our crews must fly regularly to maintain their proficiency,” said Colonel James Cleet, 133rd Air Wing Commander in a statement. “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.”

The National Guard plans to conduct flyovers over other parts of the state later this month.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Max Nesterak
Max Nesterak

Max Nesterak is the deputy editor of the Reformer and reports on labor and housing. Previously, he was an associate producer for Minnesota Public Radio after a stint at NPR. He also co-founded the Behavioral Scientist and was a Fulbright Scholar to Berlin, Germany.