Calcasieu Parish will get an F-15C flyover Saturday, a dramatic pause to salute the nation’s military and veterans — and coinciding with Southwest Louisiana’s and McNeese State University’s recovery-minded spirit after the most destructive natural disaster in area history.
The fighter jets are part of the Louisiana Air National Guard’s 159th Fighter Wing, the "Bayou Militia.”
The flyover will take place Saturday afternoon.
The event is being facilitated locally by Chennault International Airport, which regularly hosts military aircraft of all kinds.
"There's nothing quite like hearing the sound of freedom in our community,” said Kevin Melton, Chennault’s executive director and a retired Air Force colonel. "It's an honor to host them to pay solemn tribute to everyone.”
The original plan was to conduct the flyover for a military and veterans’ appreciation night — and as such is still an acknowledgement to McNeese and its desire to promote our military and veterans.
The flyover recognizes:
• Our nation’s military and veterans.
• McNeese State University’s strive for recovery, as well as that in the entire area. At landfall — in Cameron Parish — Hurricane Laura was the fifth-strongest U.S. hurricane since weather records were kept. Lake Charles took a direct hit with 150-mph sustained winds with higher gusts and tornadoes. The destruction is unprecedented in the city; the dollar amount is still being calculated.
• Patriot Day, being formally celebrated today on the 19th anniversary of 9/11.
• POW/MIA Day and the Air Force’s birthday, both of which will be observed Sept. 18.
The F-15Cs — formally, McDonnell Douglas F-15C Eagles — are American twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter aircraft.
The U.S. Air Force selected McDonnell Douglas's design in 1967 to meet the service's need for a dedicated air superiority fighter.
The F-15C has a range of nearly 3,000 miles and with a top speed of 1,875 mph.
It is among the most successful modern fighters, with over 100 victories and no losses in aerial combat. It has also been used by the air forces of Israel, Japan, and Saudi Arabia.
The Louisiana Air National Guard is comprised by a headquarters, the 159th Fighter Wing, the 214th Engineering Installation Squadron, the 236th CBCS, the 259th Air Traffic Control Squadron and the 122nd Air Support Operations Squadron.