Health care workers at Stroger Hospital wave in front of the hospital’s main entrance as the Navy’s Blue Angels fly over Chicago in their honor, Tuesday morning.

Health care workers at Stroger Hospital wave in front of the hospital’s main entrance as the Navy’s Blue Angels fly over Chicago in their honor, Tuesday morning.

Annie Costabile/Sun-Times

Blue Angels honor fellow ‘frontline warriors’ – with flyover for grateful doctors and nurses

It was an emotional moment of release for dozens of doctors and nurses who gathered atop a parking garage attached to Rush University Hospital to watch the Blue Angels roar overhead Tuesday.

Woooooo!

They jumped, screamed, waved — and some cried.

It was an emotional moment of release for dozens of doctors and nurses who gathered atop a parking garage attached to Rush University Hospital to watch the Blue Angels roar overhead Tuesday — one of dozens of perches health care workers across the city took up to view the famed jets.

“This is for show, but they are our military, they’re our frontline warriors, such as ourselves these days, and just to see those guys think of us and put on that show is very touching and it makes you want to go back in the hospital and work even harder,” said Melissa Carey, a nurse who oversees anesthesia operations that are necessary to intubate —the medical term for inserting a tube into an airway — COVID-19 patients.

The Blue Angels — a group of precision-flying Navy jets that is regularly featured in air shows across the country — performed a flyby in Chicago Tuesday to honor health care and other essential workers.

The jets flew almost directly over Rush University Medical Center near Harrison and Ashland as they looped around the city.

Patients battling COVID-19 could be seen at their hospital room windows across from the parking garage.

“It’s just nice to be recognized and be able to take a step away and enjoy this for five minutes. It doesn’t even seem real,” said Kydie Schriver, a nurse who works with COVID-19 patients. “It was emotional. I teared up. But I’m a crier,” she said with a laugh.

The jets flew in a Delta triangle formation, about six feet apart from each other, as they passed over Chicago, Navy Chief Petty Officer Chad Pratt told the Chicago Sun-Times.

They looped around the city at 400 miles an hour as low as 1,500 feet, Pratt said.

They took off from their home base in Pensacola, Fla., Tuesday morning and headed north to roar over Detroit, then Chicago and finally Indianapolis before heading home.

The jets — F/A-18 Hornets — didn’t make any landings in order to limit the pilots’ exposure to COVID-19. During the six and half hour flight the jets refueled in midair as many as five or six times, Pratt said.

There were six jets flying in formation over Chicago. A seventh jet with a pilot and a photographer trailed the group to capture images of the flyby.

Health care workers at Rush University Medical Center wait on the roof of the hospital’s parking structure Tuesday for the Blue Angels to fly over Chicago in their honor.

Health care workers at Rush University Medical Center wait on the roof of the hospital’s parking structure Tuesday for the Blue Angels to fly over Chicago in their honor.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

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