ROME, N.Y. – The New York Air National Guard at the Eastern Air Defense Sector played a key role in the April 28 America Strong flyover honoring health care personnel and essential workers in the New York City area.
Composed of six Air Force F-16C/D Fighting Falcons and six Navy F/A-18C/D Hornets, the flyover lasted about 40 minutes. Pilots from the Thunderbirds, the Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, and the Blue Angels, the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, flew the aircraft.
The Eastern Air Defense Sector, known as EADS, is staffed by members of the New York Air National Guard and is responsible for the defense of U.S. airspace east of the Mississippi. When key national events happen that involve airspace management, the Airmen at EADS and the 224th Air Defense Group play a role.
EADS provided tactical control, airspace deconfliction and coordinated refueling tankers for the flyover. The unit incorporated the aircraft into one of its datalink networks, which improved the pilots’ situation awareness and safety.
Unit personnel were also available to relay information between the aircraft and demonstration squadrons’ public affairs teams if needed.
“As New Yorkers, it was a privilege to play a small part in the nation’s salute to medical care workers and essential personnel in the metro area who have risked their own health to help others during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Col. Paul Bishop, commander of the 224th Air Defense Group, which provides the New York Air National Guard forces to conduct EADS missions.
During the flyover, the planes crossed Manhattan, looped over Newark, New Jersey, flew due east over Brooklyn and the length of Long Island before turning northwest over Long Island Sound. The planes then passed over Stamford, Connecticut, and traveled almost due south over White Plains, The Bronx and Brooklyn as they proceeded to Trenton, New Jersey, and Philadelphia.
America Strong is a collaborative salute from the Navy and Air Force to recognize health care workers, first responders and other essential personnel while standing in solidarity with all Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. Several more flyovers are planned for other cities in the coming weeks.
A headquarters unit of the Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Command/1st Air Force, EADS is responsible for the air defense of the eastern U.S. Staffed by Airmen from the New York Air National Guard’s 224th Air Defense Group, the unit monitors the skies using sophisticated radar and tracking technology.