Cal Guard flies over SCV to salute front lines

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With waves and cheers below, two C-130J Super Hercules aircraft flew over Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Thursday as a thank you to the health care workers, first responders and others on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight. 

The two aircraft from the 115th Airlift Squadron, Cal Guard’s 146th Airlift Wing based in Port Hueneme, began their flyover in Palmdale before continuing across the Santa Clarita Valley on to Ventura County. 

“What a treat it was for our front-line workers to be honored by the 146th Airlift Wing’s flyover of Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital today,” Laura Chesler of the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Foundation said via email. “My father was a major in the U.S. Air Force, so this was especially meaningful to me.”

For U.S. Air Force Capt. Cameron Shepard, a pilot with the wing, the flyover was an opportunity to honor those in his local community. 

“I was really excited to be able to give back to the brave men and women who have been on the front lines of this whole COVID situation in our local area where we live, so this is going to be a great opportunity for that,” Shepard said in a video interview provided by the wing.

The wing was able to use the flyover as part of its local training requirements, making the training exercise more meaningful with the morale boost for the community. 

“It really works out perfectly because our local missions here are going to be flying low over various locations, especially because one of our main missions is that firefighting mission where we do have to fly low over mountains and communities around this area,” Shepard added. “We’re going to be doing this training regardless, (but) it’s just nice that it works out that we can do it and help support our local community at the same time.”

The flyover is part of Operation America Strong, a nationwide salute by the military to honor the front lines, with the Air Force’s Thunderbirds expected to fly over the SCV Friday around 3:10 p.m.

To see more on the 146th Airlift Wing’s flyover, search the hashtags #146AW, #AmericaStrong and #CalGuard on social media.

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