Team Hickam conducts Hawaii flyover honoring those who 'flatten the curve'
By Senior Airman John Linzmeier, 154th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 05, 2020
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM --
Total force aviators from the Hawaii Air National Guard’s 154th Wing and the Active Duty 15th Wing soared past most major hospitals throughout the state of Hawaii May 14, as a symbolic ‘salute’ toward frontline medical workers and all residents who are taking a stand against the spread of COVID-19.
The multi-island flyovers were structured around routine training sorties, enabling aircrews to validate and improve their combat proficiencies in between their brief visits to neighboring islands.
“This event was held to recognize the hard work that everyone in Hawaii has already accomplished to keep Hawaii’s COVID cases among the lowest in the United States, while also acknowledging the need for continued vigilance and our obligation to those in our community who will require continued assistance,” said Brig. Gen. Dann S. Carlson, 154th Wing Commander. “These flyovers are meant to provide hope and reaffirm confidence in our state and nation while emphasizing the Air Force’s enduring commitment and support to the people of the State of Hawaii.”
Crowds of health care workers, staggered with six feet of spacing, were seen outside and on the rooftops of the involved medical facilities, where cheers, waves and plenty of smartphones were aimed upwards to capture their special moment of recognition.
“This means a great deal to, not only myself but, our employees,” said Mat Mamizuka, Kahuku Medical Center director of support services, “Just to boost morale. It’s great to be recognized while we are giving great care to our community.”
Inspired by the Air Force’s Operation American Resolve Salutes campaign, the flyover was also intended to show appreciation to all frontline responders, essential personnel and all who are working to keep their community safe and healthy during these unique times.
Following the initial, three-wave flyover held on Oahu, consisting of a C-17 Globemaster III, KC-135 Stratotanker and a pair of F-22 Raptors, the aircraft dispersed toward all other state counties and resumed their scheduled training mission over Pacific waters.
“These were regularly scheduled sorties,” Carlson said. “We just managed to combine them up and basically provide an opportunity to say thanks to the community, thanks to all the first responders in this COVID-19 situation as well as all the workers and everybody who's doing their part to flatten the curve.”
Nearly all training and operation missions conducted by Team Hickam Airmen are made possible by the integration of HIANG and active-duty Airmen. Their routine exercises and conduct of team operations enables JBPH-H to maintain high levels of combat airpower throughout an unprecedented crisis and allows mission planners to demonstrate a show of thanks to a hard-working community at a moment’s notice.