MIAMI — Blink and you missed it.
Miami was one of 16 locations in northeastern Oklahoma where four F-16 fighter jets from the 138th Fighter Wing, Oklahoma Air National Guard made a flyover Friday, May 1, saluting healthcare workers, first responders and other essential personnel working the front line to fight COVID-19.
This was the second day of the mission by the Tulsa-based 138th Fighter Wing.
“This is our way of showing our gratitude and thanks to all of the doctors, nurses, medical staff and first responders who are selflessly and tirelessly working to keep Oklahoma safe and healthy during this pandemic,” Maj. Gen. Michael Thompson, adjutant general for Oklahoma, said in a press release. “Thank you for your service to the people of our great state, and for showing how strong Oklahoma can be when we are all working together.”
In addition to Miami, other flyover locations were Wagoner, Eufaula, McAlester, Stigler, Sallisaw, Stilwell, Tahlequah, Grove, Nowata, Vinita, Pryor and Claremore.
Thursday’s flyover locations were Stillwater, Cushing Drumright, Stroud, Bristow, Okmulgee, Henryetta, Muskogee, Sapulpa, Tulsa and Owasso.
The first-day schedule was to have included Bartlesville, but airspace issues forced that leg to be shifted to Friday.
How fast were the F-16s flying: it took only eight minutes to complete the Tahlequah-to-Grove leg and four minutes to go from Grove to Miami.
The F-16s came in from the south, went straight over Integris Miami Hospital and about 30 seconds later, were gone into the western sky.
The event drew a big crowd of area residents as well as staffers at Integris Miami.
The 138th FW, which is the second largest F-16 Air National Guard Fighter Wing in the nation, has deployed in support of Operations Provide Comfort, Northern Watch, Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn, Enduring Freedom and Freedom’s Sentinel.