Team MacDill salutes first responders, healthcare professionals with KC-135 flyover

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Shannon Bowman
  • 6th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

MacDill Air Force Base has called the Tampa Bay area home for more than 80 years. Through the years, the community has extended unwavering support and enabled the base to execute its mission in defense of the nation.

 As a salute to the community’s healthcare heroes, MacDill AFB conducted a flyover of 12 local hospitals, on May 15, 2020.

 According to Col. Steve Snelson, the 6th Air Refueling Wing commander, the courageous service of the area’s healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic has been paramount in MacDill’s ability to deliver global air refueling support.

 “We thought what better way to honor our healthcare providers, than to have MacDill’s own KC-135s, pilots, boom operators and maintainers that live here, give something back to the community that gives us so much every single day,” said Snelson.

 A KC-135 Stratotanker, piloted by a crew with the 63rd Air Refueling Squadron took off from MacDill and completed a 90 minute flight, covering several bay area hospitals along the path.

 “We wish that we could cover every hospital to show appreciation for our medical professionals,” said Col. Travis Edwards, the 6th Operations Group commander. “One of things that we take pride in as military professionals, is getting to say we have answered our nation’s call. When we think about our medical professionals, as it relates to COVID-19, that is exactly what they have been doing – so this is our opportunity to thank them for their service.”

 For Snelson, it was important for MacDill to perform this small gesture to say thank you to the Tampa Bay community, and to show support for the area’s healthcare professionals.

 “We wanted to come out and put a smile on peoples’ faces,” said Snelson. “We wanted our first responders and healthcare professionals to know that while they’re here protecting us on the home front, we will continue to have their backs.”