Here's How Much the 'Salute to America' Flyovers Cost the Military

Air Force F-22s and a B-2 stealth bomber conduct a flyover during the Salute to America Independence Day celebration in Washington, D.C., July 4, 2019. (DoD/Lisa Ferdinando)
Air Force F-22s and a B-2 stealth bomber conduct a flyover during the Salute to America Independence Day celebration in Washington, D.C., July 4, 2019. (DoD/Lisa Ferdinando)

The Pentagon estimates the "Salute to America" Fourth of July parade held in Washington, D.C., last week cost it $1.2 million, according to the DoD comptroller's office.

Military aircraft flyovers and static displays of equipment were included in the cost, according to a DoD statement.

"Funding for the demonstrations came from the military services' training budgets that facilitate flying hours, which are imperative to military readiness," officials said in the statement, which was provided to Military.com on Tuesday. "Additional funding was used for the transportation of static displays and equipment. The total cost of the Department's support to the 'Salute to America' event was $1.2 million."

It is unclear how the cost for the parade, which has come under scrutiny, was calculated. For example, it costs $122,311 to fly a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, which participated in the event, for one hour, according to 2017 statistics. Every military service, including the Coast Guard, had aircraft participate in the event.

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It is likely the Pentagon counted the "Salute to America" flights as training flights, as it does with sporting or high-profile events, meaning aircrews used them as training sorties and earned mission time. But this flyover occurred as one service, the Navy, grapples with budget shortfalls and curtailed flight hours in the final quarter of fiscal 2019.

Officials on Tuesday said New York Fleet Week costs the DoD $1.3 million, by comparison.

The Defense Department said the following equipment and units participated in the parade:

The DoD has had a "long history of showcasing military assets to the country," officials said in the statement. This has helped each of the branches demonstrate their "contributions to the safety and security of the nation" as well as "assist in recruiting future generations of service members," it added.

The latest numbers come as President Donald Trump said he intends to hold future July 4 events.

During an event on environmental leadership Monday, Trump said he's "made the decision to do it again next year and maybe we can say for the foreseeable future."

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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