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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Ohio Air National Guard To Salute Frontline Workers

Photo by Senior Master Sgt. Beth Holliker
180th Fighter Wing Ohio National Guard
F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard.

Updated May 6, 2020 10:25 a.m.

The Ohio Air National Guard is following its peers in Indiana and Kentucky by scheduling a series of flyovers across the state this week. The "flybys" are similar to those occurring in cities like New York and Washington D.C. by the famed Navy Blue Angels and Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration teams.

The 180th Fighter Wing out of Toledo plans two passes over Southwest Ohio on Thursday, May 7. Stinger Airmen will fly over Cincinnati from 10:30-11 a.m. and over Dayton and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base from 2:10-2:27 p.m., weather permitting.

The flight paths for the F-16 Fighting Falcons are still being mapped out and will be announced on the unit's Facebook page. Other cities could be added later.

"There are so many Ohioans putting themselves out there, volunteering to protect other Ohioans from this deadly virus that's spreading so quickly and we're really proud of that," says Senior Master Sgt. Beth Holliker. "It's just amazing how everyone is coming together right now and we want to offer a small thank you and give them a nice little show."

Holliker points out the flybys are being conducted as part of the 180th Fighter Wing's normal training missions.

"Some of the flybys... will happen before our training missions, before we go into our military airspace, and some will happen on the way home from those training missions."

Cities will see between two and four aircraft, depending on location, flight path and time. The unit has about 20 F-16s.

Credit Photo by Senior Airman Kregg York / 180th Fighter Wing Ohio National Guard
180th Fighter Wing Ohio National Guard
U.S. Army Spc. Jacque Elama, a soldier assigned to the Ohio National Guard's HHC 1-148th Infantry Regiment - 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, helps community members load their vehicles with food at the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank.

Some Ohio National Guard members are themselves on the pandemic frontlines, assigned to work in foodbanks and perform other essential services during the stay-at-home order.

Units in Kentucky and Indiana are conducting flybys in their respective states, though neither have come near the Tri-State region as yet.

Salute Ohio Schedule:

May 6:
1:45 – 2:15 p.m.
Toledo, Napoleon, Defiance, Archbold, Wauseon, Delta, Swanton

May 7:
10:30 – 11:00 a.m.

1:45 – 2:05 p.m.
Lima, Findlay, Bowling Green

2:00 – 2:15 p.m.
Sandusky, Fremont

2:10 – 2:27 p.m.
Dayton, Wright-Patterson AFB, Springfield, Springfield ANGB

"All flights will be conducted in conjunction with regularly scheduled training missions and are subject to change based on mission needs and/or inclement weather," the National Guard says.

Here's is the route for the Cincinnati flyby (scroll down for Dayton information):

Credit 180th Fighter Wing

Here is the route information for the Dayton area:

Credit 180th Fighter Wing

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.