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Air Force Thunderbirds to fly over Colorado after USAFA ceremony

Thunderbirds Kara Marcus.jpg
Posted at 1:32 PM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 14:05:15-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — The Air Force Thunderbirds will be conducting a series of flyovers in the state to honor COVID-19 responders and their hard work after they finish the graduation flyover at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

At this ceremony, Vice President Mike Pence will give this year's commencement address that will be held on the USAFA campus Terrazzo at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Due to COVID-19, the Air Force Academy said its cadets will be strictly adhering to social distancing guidelines for the ceremony by marching 6 feet apart and sitting 8 feet apart during the event. The Academy also said this is the first time cadets are graduating on the Terrazzo and in the month of April.

The Thunderbirds will fly in a formation of eight F-16 Fighting Falcons over the following cities this Saturday:

  • Greeley
  • Windsor
  • Fort Collins
  • Loveland
  • Longmont
  • Boulder
  • Denver metropolitan areas
  • Denver International Airport
  • Buckley Air Force Base
  • Colorado Springs
  • Fort Carson
  • Pueblo

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Vice President Mike Pence will deliver the commencement address at the ceremony, not via video as the Academy previously reported.
In addition to Vice President Pence, Secretary of the Air Force, Barbara M. Barrett will address the the cadets in person.

The Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. David Goldfein, and the Chief of Space Operations, Gen. John Raymond, will commission the graduates at the Academy as second lieutenants into their respective services.

The Air Force Thunderbirds will conduct a flyover of the ceremony, but will not perform their traditional aerobatics demonstration at the conclusion of the ceremony. They will fly in a Super Delta formation, which is an eight-ship configuration, instead or their normal Delta formation, a six-ship formation.

The Academy graduation is happening on April 18 six weeks ahead of schedule, to allow the class of 2020 to celebrate together while ensuring their health and safety by adhering to CDC and Department of Defense guidelines, the Academy said.

Family, friends, and the public will not be able to attend the event, but will be able to live stream it in its entirety.

The ceremony will be live-streamed beginning at 11 a.m. MST on Facebook and on Youtube.

The Academy is also asking to show your support during these challenging times by sharing pictures of your American flags with #USAFAGrad2020.