WASHINGTON – The Pentagon announced Friday that for the second year in a row, the Department of Defense will provide troops and substantial support to President Donald Trump's expanded Independence Day celebrations.
Approximately 1,700 troops will provide support to the Department of the Interior with "Salute to America" celebrations in Washington, D.C., as well as flyovers of other cities including New York, Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia and the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Lt. Col. Chris Mitchell, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement.
"The highlight of this year's celebration will be our salute to the Great Cities of the American Revolution.," Mitchell said. "The flyovers will begin in Boston and proceed to New York City, Philadelphia and Baltimore. From there they will join other Department of Defense and heritage aircraft in the Salute to America over our nation's capital."
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The statement did not specify which aircraft would be showcased, but it added that "Flying hours are a sunk cost for the Department of Defense, and these aircraft and crews would be using these hours for proficiency and training at other locations if they were not conducting these flyovers."
"The exact timing of the flyovers is still being worked and will be announced soon," the statement reads.
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Last year's celebration involved flyovers by the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, B-2 stealth bomber, and F-22 Raptor. The nation's capital last year also rumbled with tanks, and Trump's demand they be part of his "Salute to America" on the National Mall prompted criticism.