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Air Force Thunderbirds fly over Las Vegas to honor those on front lines of pandemic

'It is an honor to fly for the Americans at the forefront of our nation’s fight against the coronavirus,' Lt. Col. John Caldwell, said.

LAS VEGAS — A formation of five F-16 jets from the Thunderbirds, the U.S. Air Force's flight demonstration squadron, performed a flyover across metro Las Vegas as a tribute to health care workers, emergency responders and essential personnel working during the pandemic.

The v-shaped formation's route took the jets over hospitals and the new NFL stadium under construction for the Raiders as another aircraft flew off to the side and behind.

“It is an honor to fly for the Americans at the forefront of our nation’s fight against the coronavirus,” Lt. Col. John Caldwell, the Thunderbirds commander and leader, said in a statement before the event on Saturday.

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Residents were urged to view the event from their homes while practicing social distancing. Several photos posted on social media appeared to be taken in neighborhoods where the visible streets were empty.

Other photos showed people in small clusters along a street on the city's outskirts and across a large vacant lot bordered by numerous parked cars.

Credit: AP
The U.S. Air Force Air flight demonstration squadron, the Thunderbirds, flies by the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino as they show their support for frontline COVID-19 healthcare workers and first responders in Las Vegas, Saturday, April 11, 2020. (Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun via AP)