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National Guard flyover to include Flathead Valley

by Daily Inter Lake
| May 4, 2020 2:07 PM

As part of the national Air Force Salutes flyover program, two C-130 aircraft with the Montana National Guard will perform flyovers throughout the state on Wednesday, including the Flathead Valley.

The event begins in Great Falls Wednesday morning with a two-ship flyover of Benefis Hospital. Afterward, the two aircraft — part of the 120th Airlift Wing — will split off with one taking an eastern route and another overing the western portion of the state. Together, they are scheduled to fly over more than 20 cities and towns.

An aircraft will reach the Flathead Valley beginning at 11:35 a.m.. At that time, the aircraft are expected to fly over the Columbia Falls area, then will reach Whitefish shortly after at 11:40 a.m. and will fly over Kalispell at 11:45 a.m.

According to a press release, the purpose of the flyovers is to “demonstrate the Department of the Air Force’s continued readiness during the national COVID-19 response, while saluting the American heroes at the forefront in the fight against COVID-19.” The flyovers are also intended to lift morale in towns, cities and states across American due to “the severe health and economic impacts that have resulted from COVID-19.”

The press release recommends people watch the event from the comfort of their personal yards and porches in order to abide by social distancing recommendations.

“The Montana Air National Guard salutes each Montanan serving on the frontlines in our combat against COVID-19,” said Col. Buel Dickson, commander of 120th Airlift Wing. “ These flyovers are a small gesture of appreciation to the heroes across the state. You epitomize the ethos as Montanans helping Montanans. We are indebted to your service and appreciate your efforts in trying to keep our state safe.”

Flyovers such as these are conducted at no additional cost to the taxpayer and serve as training for air crews. In addition to this event, the Montana Air National Guard has deployed 72 airmen throughout the state to help defend against the pandemic, the press advisory said.

A detailed list of towns and times will be released on our Facebook account at https://www.facebook.com/120Vigilantes/