Four California Air National Guard fighter jets flew over the Bay Area this morning. The Flyovers were part of a nationwide initiative by the U.S. Air Force dubbed “America Strong” intended to honor health care workers and first responders.
The jets passed over Emeryville at about 10:45 and continued a southern flight path along the coastline to Santa Barbara where they returned back to home base.
While some neighbors were startled by the unexpected rumble of military jets, most expressed appreciation of the intent to honor workers and their sacrifices during the ongoing battle to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Emotional is how I feel,” said Santa Clara Kaiser senior medical assistant Leticia Palomares in this East Bay Times article. “Also, blessed to be here helping others with my staff.”
View this post on Instagram
— Nannette Miranda 🏝 (@NannetteNewz) May 13, 2020
— Golden Beers (@pure_EVille) May 13, 2020
Others were critical of the gesture suggesting that the money it took to perform the operation would be better spent on Personal Protective Equipment that has been hard to come by for some hospitals and other essential businesses. “Use the money to buy more PPE and help people out of a job,” was a sentiment expressed by a few commenters on social media.
While frivolous to some, the hours spent flying are credited toward mandatory flight hours according to California Military Department Public Affairs personnel Salli Sablan. “Pilots are required to log flight hours to maintain proficiency.”
The California National Guard also verbally expressed appreciation for the efforts of front line employees through their Twitter account. “Thank you to everyone working on the front lines during COVID-19”
— The California National Guard (@CalGuard) May 14, 2020