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National Guard flyovers near Mercy Hospital’s campuses in Coon Rapids and Fridley honored those on the front lines of the fight against the novel coronavirus Wednesday, May 6.

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

The flyover near Mercy’s Unity campus in Fridley included a multi-aircraft formation featuring a C-130 Hercules from the St. Paul-based 133rd Airlift Wing and two F-16 Fighting Falcons from the Duluth-based 148th Fighter Wing.

Two F-16s from the 148th Fighter Wing conducted the Coon Rapids flyover between 11:20 and 11:35 a.m. as they followed the Mississippi River corridor from Brainerd to Rochester.

“Our crews must fly regularly to maintain their proficiency,” Col. James Cleet, 133rd Air Wing commander, said in a statement. “This is an outstanding way to both train our aircrew and to recognize those in our community that are on the front line working hard for the citizens of Minnesota.”

Other communities in the flight path Wednesday included Brainerd, Little Falls, Minneapolis, Monticello, Hastings, Robbinsdale, Rochester, St. Cloud, St. Louis Park, St. Paul, Stillwater, White Bear Lake and Woodbury.

Flyovers were set near local medical facilities in each community. Other sites in the state will be included during future flyovers planned for later in the month.

“Our guardsmen live and work in these cities,” Col. Christopher Blomquist, 148th Fighter Wing commander, said in a statement. “The Minnesota National Guard has units and facilities in 58 communities throughout the state. They have always supported us; this is a small way we can show that we support them too. Thank you for your service.”

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