The U.S. Department of Defense has decided to canceled joint military exercise as the novel coronavirus continues to spread globally. A series of air shows across the nation also have been canceled due to concerns over the spread of coronavirus, including one this weekend that was to feature a performance by the Thunderbirds.
Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas on Thursday afternoon said its Fiesta of Flight Air and Space Expo, which was scheduled for Saturday, is now off. That show was to include performances by the Thunderbirds, the Wings of Blue Jump Team, the A-10 Demo Team, and others.
“We do not have any COVID-19 cases identified,” Col. Lee Gentile, commander of the 47th Flying Training Wing at Laughlin, said in a statement posted on the base’s official Twitter account. “This decision to cancel is out of an abundance of caution.”
The annual air show at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, which was to include a performance by the Air Force’s F-35A Demonstration Team, was also called off. It was scheduled to begin Friday afternoon and run throughout Saturday and would have featured the first public performance of its new pilot and commander, Capt. Kristin “Beo” Wolfe.
The Luke Days 2020 airshow scheduled for March 21-22, 2020 is cancelled due to growing COVID-19 concerns and to mitigate health risks to attendees.
“We continue to take the health of our Airmen and our community very seriously,” said Brig. Gen. Todd D. Canterbury, 56th Fighter Wing commander. “This decision to cancel was made after multiple meetings and conversations with our local community leaders and military health officials. We’re doing our civic duty to protect our citizens on a local level. We are continually monitoring the situation with COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) in conjunction with the Arizona Department of Health Services and Maricopa County Public Health.”
The Yuma show also was scheduled to have a performance by an AV-8 Harrier team put together by Marine Attack Squadron 311 and based at MCAS Yuma.
A press release from the Yuma show team said both days are canceled for both the general public, and those who have purchased tickets. Those who paid for tickets will receive full refunds from the ticketing site starting March 16.
Air shows at March Air Reserve Base in California and MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, each of which was scheduled for March 28 and 29, have also been postponed until further notice.
The Pentagon recently suspended deployments for troops and their families into South Korea and Italy. Currently decided to canceled major military exercise between the U.S. and several European nations and U.S. involvement will be reduced in another exercise amid the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, US European Command announced Wednesday.
On Tuesday, US military leaders announced that they would be scaling back the size and scope of the African Lion military exercise with Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal “to minimize exposure of US and partner nation service members to the novel coronavirus.”
Also, according to the current information, due to the COVID-19 concerns the following United States airshows are canceled: MCAS Yuma (AZ), 50th Annual Air Show at NAF El Centro (CA), AirFest at March ARB (CA).