Fighter Jet Flyover to Salute San Jose’s Frontline Workers

Look up, San Jose!

At 10:56am Wednesday, expect a thunderous rumble to emanate from above.

Four F-15C Eagle Fighter jets from the California Air National Guard’s 144th Fighter Wing in Fresno are set to do a flyover throughout the state as a salute to healthcare workers, first responders, service members and other essential personnel who have worked on the frontlines during the coronavirus pandemic.

“These flyovers are a thank you for your service and sacrifice,” said Col. Jeremiah Cruz, the 144th Fighter Wing commander. “Please look up to the sky as we salute you.”

The flyover is set to take off from the Fresno Air National Guard Base to passing over medical facilities in the San Joaquin Valley, Sacramento and Bay Area before heading down to Southern California.

The Bay Area flyovers “stops” include the Kaiser Permanente medical centers in Richmond and Oakland, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, Santa Clara’s Kaiser Permanente, O’Connor Hospital and Regional Medical Center in San Jose, Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, Watsonville Community Hospital and Community Hospital of Monterey Peninsula.

The four F-15s—which expect to cross over San Jose at 10:56am—will soar at speeds of about 350 mph at a 1,000-feet elevation throughout their statewide trip.

“Typically we’re at 25,000 feet, so we’re going down low and slowing down quite a bit for these flights, all within safety parameters,” Senior Master Sgt. Chris Drudge explained.

As part of Operation Strong, the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels and the Air Force’s Thunderbirds have been carrying out flyovers over selected cities throughout the nation. However, since the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds are not able to hit every city and region in the country, the U.S. Department of Defense granted various Navy and Air Force units permission to organize their own flyovers.

For the Golden State, that’s where the the Air National Guard comes in. Residents in San Jose will no doubt get a treat as the jets fly overhead shortly before 11am.

16 Comments

  1. Brilliant. Let’s wake-up exhausted health care workers, 3rd shift workers, and hospital patients. At ~$25,000 / hour per fighter jet, this stunt costs us at least $100K. Meanwhile we’re facing a $54 billion state deficit that’s growing by the hour.

    If the CA Air National Guard wants to make a difference, then air drop cleaning wipes, masks, spray cleaner, or toilet paper. Or better yet, stay home and stop wasting money.

    • Well said, TAXPAYER. Indeed not all will appreciate this “gift”. Probably less than half of the healthcare workers, first responders, service members and other essential personnel whom I have known. Well, when all one has is a fighter jet, which is presently not very useful, I guess we must say to ourselves: “It’s the thought that counts”, and then “Thank you for your service”.

    • > At ~$25,000 / hour per fighter jet, this stunt costs us at least $100K.

      The taxpayers are going to be paying for the airplanes and flight operations somewhere for purposes of training and readiness.

      The worst time to learn how to fly and operate a jet fighter, is after the war starts.

      “The next war will be a ‘come as you are’ war”.

      “Prior practice prevents p*ss poor performance”.

    • Many have already lost their lives because they are exposed to the FATAL VIRUS that has already claimed MILLIONS OF LIVES all around the world. What are YOU doing?

      • > Many have already lost their lives because they are exposed to the FATAL VIRUS that has already claimed MILLIONS OF LIVES all around the world. What are YOU doing?

        But YOU haven’t lost YOUR life.

        Sounds like you’re trying to take credit for someone else’s sacrifices.

        Many military veterans will recognized this as “stolen valor”: wearing medals that you did not earn.

  2. You people are so ungrateful and cynical. Frontline workers risk their lives every single day trying to save patients and put an end to this pandemic. Many have already lost their lives because they are exposed to the FATAL VIRUS that has already claimed MILLIONS OF LIVES all around the world. What are YOU doing??

    • Having worked in a hospital and as an EMT, I’m more grateful for sanitation workers. Low pay, hard work, exposure to really nasty, dangerous substances, and potentially dangerous equipment. Ditto for farmers. Society has survived for thousands of years without health care workers – but not food.

      There’s a difference between cynicism and critical thinking. COVID is NOT a “fatal virus” – at least compared to other diseases like ebola’s 50% fatality rate. Santa Clara County’s claimed COVID mortality rate is about 5%.

      However, recent research by Stanford puts it much smaller and actually approaching that of seasonal flu. Meanwhile we’re allowing unelected officials to disrupt our lives and the economy.

      Millions of lives lost due to COVID? Nope. Latest WHO data gives 294K fatalities and 4.31M confirmed cases i.e, 6%.

      And per WHO, the vast majority of fatalities were those with severe underlying health issues. COVID simply tipped the balance. They would have succumbed to pneumonia or a similar if contracted. A physician described it as “the old persons friend” since it ended the suffering that many experienced.

      My biggest fear is not COVID, but people like you. Those that drank the Kool-Aide allowed Hitler to come to power resulting in somewhere between 70-85 million deaths (3% of the world’s population). My generation allowed the Vietnam war with about 1.3 million deaths.

      That’s not to say that we shouldn’t honor those that fought. As citizens we have an obligation to educate ourselves and question the judgement of elected officials.

  3. Not sure where taxpayer who’s talking out his ass got his numbers the flights ran $60,000 an hour. Let the genius do the math. Mind you that’s not per plane and it was absorbed in the pentagon budget. Thank you first responder and medical personnel.

  4. Sandman, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-military-fighter-europe/european-f-35-fighter-jet-users-push-to-drive-down-operating-costs-idUSKCN1LQ25Z . It was the first search hit that seemed credible. It gives a range of costs in *2012 dollars* – higher now. $25,000 / hour / fighter is on the low side. Seems a conservative first level approximation sans details.

    And virtually certain that figure fails to account for other costs. Some trivial, some not. The $100K estimate is just for the SJ flyover. I believe they’ve conducted some in other CA cities.

    It seems as if the Feds pay 75% of the cost of the National Guard with each state responsible for 25% Please provide details if you have more accurate information, and the source of your $60K figure too.

    Regardless, the stunt squandered time and treasure – and out of scope. We don’t maintain the military for public entertainment. The SF Fleet Week and now halted Moffit airshows offered an educational component. The redeeming value of this flyover eludes me.

    There are many more effective and cheaper alternatives the Guard could have used. Some saw or heard them – most didn’t. Cynically, the stunt seems less about honoring anyone, but to foster a favorable public image for the CA Air Guard.

    And that may be justified, but from a different perspective. My military friends tell me all branches are really struggling to attract and retain new recruits in spite of relaxed standards. $100K may be a good investment if it results in 7 more recruits given the ~$15K cost per recruit (source: Rand Corporation).

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