Mitchell did not confirm details of the overpasses, which will involve the Defense Department and “heritage” aircraft. But another defense official said the request for the Washington DC event included the Air Force Thunderbirds demo team, while the Navy Blue Angels will fly over Mount Rushmore on July 3.
This would mark the first time that the Thunderbirds have participated in Trump’s “Salute to America” event. Last year’s festivities involved a Blue Angels flyover.
In addition to the Thunderbirds, the request for the DC event included the F-35 and F-22 fighter jets, the B-2 stealth bomber, the Osprey V-22 tilt rotor, the CH-47 Chinook and AH- helicopters. 64 Apache, Coast The guard plane and a presidential plane, either Air Force One or Marine One, said the defense official, who requested anonymity to discuss the ongoing planning.
Unlike last year, the July 4 celebration will not include static displays at the mall for ground military equipment such as Bradley combat vehicles, the two defense officials said. It was not immediately clear why the administration decided to remove static displays this year, but its exclusion will likely reduce costs and crowds at the national mall.
Last year’s celebration cost taxpayers more than $ 13 million, double that of previous celebrations, government watchers reported Thursday. The inclusion of military vehicles and Trump’s attendance at the Lincoln Memorial raised costs.
Mitchell said this year’s flights are a “sunk cost,” adding that “these planes and crews would use these hours to gain competition and training elsewhere if they weren’t doing these flybys.”
Trump has promised a second Independence Day celebration in the nation’s capital this year despite protests by lawmakers concerned about the public health implications of holding a major event amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The White House has said it will take precautions this year to ensure public safety during the July 4 celebrations, although it has not provided details on what those measures would entail.
“It will look different than 2019 to ensure the health and safety of attendees,” said White House spokesman Judd Deere. “The American people have shown great courage and spirit in fighting this global pandemic, just as our ancestors did in the fight to secure our independence, and both deserve a celebration on America’s birthday this year.”