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Laughlin salutes frontline workers in Del Rio, Eagle Pass, San Angelo

Capt. Mark Palyok, 87th Flying Training Squadron assistant flight commander, inspects a T-38C Talon as preparation to depart from Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, to fly in a dissimilar formation of aircraft--one over Del Rio and Eagle Pass and the other over San Angelo--on May 21, 2020. The flyover consisted of the T-6A Texan II, T-1A Jayhawk and the T-38 and honored the men and women on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 during the Defense Department’s #AmericaStrong salute. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Anne McCready)

Capt. Mark Palyok, 87th Flying Training Squadron assistant flight commander, inspects a T-38C Talon as preparation to depart from Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, to fly in a dissimilar formation of aircraft--one over Del Rio and Eagle Pass and the other over San Angelo--on May 21, 2020. The flyover consisted of the T-6A Texan II, T-1A Jayhawk and the T-38 and honored the men and women on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 during the Defense Department’s #AmericaStrong salute. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Anne McCready)

Two instructor pilots of Laughlin Air Force base sport the "hook 'em horns" to symbolize their squadron mascot--the 87th Flying Training Squadron's red bull-- as they depart Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, to fly in a dissimilar formation of aircraft, over Del Rio and Eagle Pass, May 21, 2020. The flyover consisted of the T-6A Texan II, T-1A Jayhawk and the T-38 Talon and honored the men and women on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 during the Defense Department’s #AmericaStrong salute. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Anne McCready)

Two instructor pilots of Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, sport the "hook 'em horns" to symbolize their squadron mascot--the 87th Flying Training Squadron's red bull-- as they depart Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, to fly in a dissimilar formation of aircraft, over Del Rio and Eagle Pass, May 21, 2020. The flyover consisted of the T-6A Texan II, T-1A Jayhawk and the T-38 Talon and honored the men and women on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 during the Defense Department’s #AmericaStrong salute. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Anne McCready)

Four T-38C Talons prepare to depart from Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, to fly in a dissimilar formation of aircraft, some over Del Rio and Eagle Pass and others over San Angelo Texas, May 21, 2020. The flyover consisted of the T-6A Texan II, T-1A Jayhawk and the T-38 and honored the men and women on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 during the Defense Department’s #AmericaStrong salute. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Anne McCready)

Four T-38C Talons prepare to depart from Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, to fly in a dissimilar formation of aircraft, some over Del Rio and Eagle Pass and others over San Angelo Texas, May 21, 2020. The flyover consisted of the T-6A Texan II, T-1A Jayhawk and the T-38 and honored the men and women on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 during the Defense Department’s #AmericaStrong salute. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Anne McCready)

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- T-6A Texan IIs, T-1A Jayhawks and a T-38C Talons from Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, blazed over the skies of nearby cities Eagle Pass, San Angelo, and of course, their hometown Del Rio, May 21, 2020.

This flyover represents a salute from Laughlin showing gratitude to frontline workers everywhere, and motivating the community to remain resilient during the challenges of COVID-19.

 “As a community, our ability to remain united and proactive with adhering to preventative care measures during this unforeseen situation has truly played a significant role in our ability to contain this virus,” said Col. Lee Gentile, 47th Flying Training Wing Commander. “It is a privilege to honor our local heroes, because every day they are on the front lines, protecting us from this invisible enemy.”

One of the pilots taking part in one of the two dissimilar formation flights 1st Lt. Melaine Valentin, 47th Student Squadron instructor pilot, sees it as an honor to thank the community for all the times they’ve been there for her and her unit and help inspire Texans to push past these difficult times.

“The community and all the frontline workers do such a great job supporting us 365 days a year, and we would just love to show them how much we appreciate their support,” Valentin said. “This is our chance, through our Laughlin salute, to return that support and give back for all those times they’ve been there for us.”

She speaks for all Laughlin and is enthusiastic to take to the skies as a part of a formation to cheer on everyone who steps out to watch.

Laughlin, Del Rio and all nearby towns bond together, using preventative measures to slow the spread of the virus, but still celebrate the life shared on base and throughout the community.