“Hercs for Heroes:” Hurricane Hunters from 403rd Wing plan flyby of Coast hospitals Tuesday afternoon

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (WXXV) — The 403rd Wing is planning an additional flyby for Picayune, Bay Saint Louis, and Pascagoula the afternoon of Tuesday, May 5 in honor of healthcare workers, first responders, and essential personnel battling the spread of COVID-19.

The “Hercs for Heroes” flyby will feature a WC-130J Super Hercules from the wing’s 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, known as the Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters, starting at 2 p.m.

The aircraft’s flight path will start near Highland Community Hospital, Picayune, at 2 p.m., proceed to Ochsner Medical Center-Hancock, Bay Saint Louis at 2:15 p.m., and then by the Singing River Health System at 2:35 p.m. and USS Tripoli (LHA 7) at 2:38 p.m. Huntington Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula before heading back to Keesler AFB.

 “We had such positive feedback that we decided to do a second fly by for additional Gulf Coast hospitals,” said Col. Jeffrey A. Van Dootingh, 403rd Wing commander. “This is one small way the Reserve Citizen Airmen of Team Keesler can give back to the Mississippi Gulf community which always supports the military here. It’s our turn to say ‘Thank you’ to our community partners – especially all the health care workers and first responders who are going above and beyond the call of duty to take care of Americans during this pandemic.”

 Gulf Coast residents will be able to see the flyover from the safety of their homes and should maintain all social distancing guidelines, he added.

The 403rd Wing is the only Air Force Reserve unit in Mississippi and consists of more than 1,600 Reserve and civilian professionals. The wing maintains and flies 20 C-130J Super Hercules and its missions include the only weather reconnaissance mission in the Department of Defense as well as tactical airlift and airdrop, aeromedical evacuation and agile combat support.

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