In salute to front-line pandemic workers, Air Force formation to fly over Southern Utah

U.S. Air Force Captain Kristin "BEO" Wolfe, F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team Commander, flies during a demonstration practice near Hill Air Force Base, Utah, April 20, 2020 | U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Kip Sumner, St. George News

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — The U.S. Air Force plans a flyover that will be observable in Southern Utah in salute to everyone on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19, as well as those staying at home to “flatten the curve” of the virus.

Capt. Kristin “BEO” Wolfe, F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team pilot and commander, flies in a heritage flight formation with Maj. Josh Gunderson, F-22 Demonstration Team Pilot, a F-86 Sabre, and a P-47 Thunderbolt at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base during the Air Force Heritage Flight Training Course, Feb. 29, 2020 | U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Zachary Boyer, St. George News

According to a press release issued by Hill Air Force Base, the Air Force F-35A Lightning II Demonstration and 388th Fighter Wing will be performing the formation flyover throughout Utah on Thursday beginning at 1 p.m. and is expected to reach the St. George area around 2 p.m.

The formation will be led by the F-35A Demo Team pilot, Capt. Kristin “BEO” Wolfe, with three combat-ready F-35 pilots from the 388th Fighter Wing.

“This flyover is our way of saluting those that are keeping our home-front safe during these unique times,” Wolfe said in the press release. “To provide just a small showcase of our appreciation to everyone that is doing their part to combat the virus, and to say ‘thank you for your sacrifice and service’, to let everyone who has been affected by this pandemic know that we stand by you.”

The flyover is schedule to take off from Hill Air Force Base and will proceed south through Salt Lake City down to the southern border of the state near St. George. It will then loop up to Park City and Logan before proceeding south through Ogden back to the base. The flight path was coordinated with Utah State officials as well as members of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Flyover map for Hill Air Force Base F-35A Lightning II Demonstration and 388th Fighter Wing. | Image courtesy of the U.S. Air Force, St. George News | Click on image to enlarge

Hill Air Force Base says the flyover is intended to provide a salute to all the health care professionals, front-line responders and essential personnel working to keep everyone safe and healthy during these unique times. The flyover also provides essential training to the pilots and demonstrates the readiness of the Air Force.

“We are an operational wing, and we’re taking every precaution to ensure our personnel safety while maintaining our combat-readiness,” Col. Steven Behmer, 388th Fighter Wing commander, said in the press release. “This flyover is just one way for us to enhance our training while providing a small service to our community.”

The Air Force recommends residents observe the flyover from the safety of their home and refrain from traveling to see the flyover, while maintaining social distancing and avoiding large gatherings.

The 388th Fighter Wing reached full warfighting capability in January with the receipt of their 78th F-35 and continues to maintain combat-readiness during this time through segmented operations. The 388th Fighter Wing still has a squadron deployed overseas in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

The F-35, America’s newest fifth-generation fighter, provides game-changing stealth, interoperability and lethality. It can penetrate dangerous airspace that other aircraft cannot and destroy high-threat targets both in the air and on the ground.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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