Hill Air Force Base fighter jets to entertain on July 4
Fourth of July • Pilots to soar over parades, Stadium of Fire.
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F-16 fighter jets from Hill Air Force Base will soar over 19 parades and the Stadium of Fire in Provo for the July 4 holiday on Wednesday.

Pilots from Utah's only Air Force Reserve unit, the 419th Fighter Wing, have been flying over parades for more than 30 years, and this year will entertain at more parades than any other unit in the Air Force, according to 419th spokeswoman Kari Tilton.

They will fly in four-aircraft formations.

Maj. Bart "Face" Wilbanks said in a base news release that the flights are one way reservists can say thanks to Utah for "the very best military support in the entire world."

"As reservists, we understand that without this outstanding support it would be nearly impossible for us to balance our civilian jobs with our military service," Wilbanks said, according to the release.

In the evening, four F-16s from Hill's active duty 388th Fighter Wing will fly over LaVell Edwards Stadium at Brigham Young University to kick off the Stadium of Fire celebration. The 388th wing has flown over the stadium on July 4 for nearly 20 years.

"As a 2002 BYU graduate, I'm thrilled to see the stadium from a bird's-eye view," said Capt. Thomas "Grip" Nelson.

Most of the 388th pilots involved in the holiday fly-overs were recently in Afghanistan for six-month deployments.

kmoulton@sltrib.com