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Three U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs from the 355th Wing at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona participated in a flyover of the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., April 15, 2020.

The flyover was a part of a series of scheduled flyovers for the cadets graduating in the class of 2020 that included the A-10, F-35 Lightning II, KC-135 Stratotanker and other aircraft.

“The purpose of the flyover was to show our support to cadets that have endured four to five years of military training and were nearing the end before being locked down due to COVID-19,” said Maj. Cody Wilton, A-10C Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team commander. “I hope our impact was a demonstration of the Air Force’s commitment to each individual cadet and their value to us as a service.”

Wilton flew as part of a three-ship formation that included Col. Michael Drowley, 355th Wing commander and a 1996 academy graduate, and Col. Jeffrey Hogan, 355th Fighter Group commander and 1996 academy graduate.

Col. Michael Drowley, 355th Wing commander, Maj. Cody Wilton, A-10C Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team commander, and Col. Jeffery Hogan, 355th Fighter Group commander, pose on the flight line at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 15, 2020. Hogan and Drowley, class of 1996 academy graduates, flew as part of a three-ship formation over the Air Force Academy for graduating cadets. (Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Kristine Legate)

“We took three aircraft loaded with center-line fuel tanks to complete a trip to Colorado Springs [Colorado] to do a graduation flyby for the graduating class of 2020,” said Drowley. “This was our way of welcoming them into the ranks of the Air Force.”

The Air Force Academy is slated to graduate the class of 2020 on April 18, 2020 and the graduation will include the traditional flyover from the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

“When you look at how the seniors are isolated by themselves, this is how we show that we are here for them,” said Drowley. “It says that you are now a part of the Air Force family and your family is here for you. This meant a lot to me too because I got a lot of my leadership development and character from the academy. I am always looking for ways to give back to institutions that made an impact on me and this was one way that I could do that by saying congratulations to the graduating class.”

The Air Force is committed to taking care of its most valuable asset, Airmen, whether that be a cadet, enlisted Airman or officer. The 355th Wing participated in the flyover of the Air Force Academy as a demonstration of that commitment.
 

Col. Michael Drowley, 355th Wing commander, conducts pre-flight inspections at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 15, 2020. Drowley, an academy graduate, flew as part of a three-ship formation over the Air Force Academy for graduating cadets. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Jacob T. Stephens)

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