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187th performs Auburn football game flyover

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jared Rand
  • 187 FW Public Affairs
Two F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft from the 187th Fighter Wing in Montgomery, Alabama performed the pre-game flyover to kick off the Auburn University vs. Arkansas football game October 22, 2016 at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama.

The pilots landed at the Montgomery Regional Air National Guard Base after the flyover and drove to the game. Together with six more members of the 187th Fighter Wing, they walked onto the field to be recognized during a third-quarter timeout, where the announcer praised the wing and the crowd of more than 87,000 people gave them a standing ovation.

Lt. Col. Jeff "Bat" Simmons flew the lead jet in the flyover, with Capt. Martin "Lefty" Smith, an Auburn graduate, following in the second F-16.

"It was an exciting honor for Lefty and I to fly over Jordan-Hare Stadium and showcase the 187th Fighter Wing 'Redtails' to the fans," Simmons said. "The weather was great, maintenance delivered two solid jets, and the team's combined efforts, coupled with outstanding FAA and Auburn University support, allowed us to hit our mark on time. Auburn was a gracious host and we enjoyed the opportunity to tell everyone about the 'Redtails' and the Alabama Air National Guard"

Capt. Shawn Daley, an Auburn graduate and the 187th Fighter Wing senior intelligence officer, helped coordinate the flyover with the university.

"We've developed a great relationship with the university during several events over the last year," Daley said. "Besides this flyover, we've participated in a career fair for the students, and Tech. Sgt. Marquette of our recruiting staff sang the national anthem at an Auburn volleyball game. We've already started to plan other projects with the athletic department."

Before the game, volunteer airmen handed out flyers about the Guard around the university, and talked to people about the 187th's mission.

"This relationship benefits both parties," Daley continued. "We can create excitement with the Auburn fan base at the athletic events, and it helps us increase awareness of the Air National Guard and the 187th Fighter Wing in Alabama."

(Simmons, Smith and Daley were joined on the field by Col. Brian Vaughn, 187th Maintenance Group commander, Lt Col Chris Germann, 187th Operations Support Squadron director of operations, 2nd Lt. Shenovius Bennett, 187th FW maintenance officer, Senior Master Sgt. Jonathan Dean, 187th FW intel superintendent, and Master Sgt. Jessica Broach, 187th Maintenance Group unit training manager.)