MacDill to fly KC-135s around Tampa Bay in honor of frontline heroes

Local News

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Two military refueling planes from MacDill Air Force Base will fly around Tampa Bay on Friday in honor of heroes on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

Team MacDill announced Tuesday they will launch two KC-135s to fly a route around the Tampa Bay area. The route will take the aircrafts over 12 major hospitals in the area.

On Thursday, MacDill said the flyover will begin one hour earlier – at 9:30 a.m., due to weather.

“Times are correct on this map. Were going to launch at 0930, then headout over the Skyway before returning to MacDill to begin our loops,” the base said on Facebook.

The flight over the Skyway will be a training mission.

“This community goes out of their way to honor our sacrifices,” said Col. Stephen Snelson, 6th Air Refueling Wing commander. “This is an honor for us to be able to display our gratitude to these warriors who protect our base and this community from this horrible virus.”

The two refueling planes will be piloted by active duty and reserve teams from the 6th Air Refueling Wing and the 927th Air Refueling Wing stationed at MacDill.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shandresha Mitchell/ Released by MacDill AFB)

The team says service provided by health care professionals directly helps the Air Force and other military services “keep hope alive as we defend our great nation.”

“We have around 20 Reserve Citizen Airmen currently deployed in the fight against COVID-19,” said Col. Douglas Stouffer, 927th Air Refueling Wing Commander. “This flight is a way to honor all health care workers and first responders and remind them we are all in this together.”

The two KC-135s will launch from MacDill around 9:30 a.m. Friday. MacDill says the planes will head south toward the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, then head back north along the bay. The formation will turn south and follow I-75 to Sarasota, then turn north through St. Petersburg before returning to base over downtown.

The route they’re taking will take the planes over Tampa General Hospital on Davis Islands, Brandon Regional Hospital, Riverview Regional Hospital, South Bay Hospital, Sarasota Memorial Hospital, St. Anthony’s Hospital, St. Petersburg General Hospital, Bay Pines VA Hospital, Largo Medical Center, Children’s Medical Center, North Tampa General Hospital and the University of South Florida.

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