The formation will feature F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters from the “Argonauts” of VFA-147, EA-18G Growlers from the “Vikings” of VAQ 129 and F/A-18F Super Hornets from the “Flying Eagles” of VFA-122.
The Super Bowl will have to wait for US Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet and F-35C Lightning II strike fighters as well as EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft before the 2022 football season comes to an end in February when the Bengals, Chiefs, 49ers or Eagles will hoist the Vice Lombardi trophy.
The NFL has invited naval aviators to overfly the field during the country music star Chris Stapleton’s rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner” ahead of kickoff to celebrate the anniversary of the first female naval aviators in the US Navy.
The NFL announced this week on its site:
‘To commemorate 50 years of women flying in the U.S. Navy, the service will conduct a flyover of State Farm Stadium during the national anthem with female aviators as part of the formation.’
The formation will be composed of F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters from the “Argonauts” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147, EA-18G Growlers from the “Vikings” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129 and F/A-18F Super Hornets from the “Flying Eagles” of VFA-122.
According to USNI News, the Navy released digital trading cards Thursday for the 15 service members involved in the flyover. They include Lt. Lyndsay “Miley” Evans, Lt. Lenue “Loo” Gilchrist III, Lt. Slawomir “GP” Glownia, Lt. Gregory “Benz” Oh, of the “Vikings,” Lt. Kathryn Martinez, Lt. Garrett Sherwood, Lt. Cmdr. Ben Piazza, Lt. Ryan Baptiste, Lt. Michael Thorsen, Capt. William Frank and Lt. Saree Moreno, from the “Flying Eagles” and Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Armenteros, Lt. Cmdr. Charles Calbretta, Lt. Chris McNulty and Lt. Ryan “Mr. Hong” Turner, from the “Argonauts.”
According to the Naval History and Heritage Command eight women were selected in 1973 by the US Navy to train as the first female aviators in the service. Lt. Barbara Allen was the first woman to receive her wings as a naval aviator.
Allen was among the first women naval aviators to qualify as jet pilots. She was assigned to fly C-1s in Alameda, California, and became the first jet-qualified woman in the US Navy to fly the T-39. She transferred to the Navy Reserve in 1977 until 1981, when she was recalled to active duty to help the Navy fill a shortage of flight instructors. She was assigned to VT-3 at Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Milton, Florida, flying the T-34C Mentor. In 1982, she was killed in a crash while teaching touch-and-go landings at Middleton Field near Evergreen, Alabama.
The US Navy flew a four-plane formation with all female pilots in honor of Capt. Rosemary Mariner, the first female jet pilot in the service, in February 2019.
Mariner was also among the class of eight women selected in 1973. Both Allen and Mariner earned their wings in 1974.
Photo credit: US Navy and USNI News