Military Aviation

Meet the all-female Navy aviation team that conducted the flyover at Super Bowl LVII commemorating 50 years of women flying in the US Navy

Three US Navy tactical aircraft squadrons conducted an integrated flyover at the conclusion of the National Anthem during Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., Feb. 12, 2023.

Three US Navy tactical aircraft squadrons conducted an integrated flyover at the conclusion of the National Anthem during Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., Feb. 12, 2023.

The flyover formation included two F/A-18F Super Hornets from the “Flying Eagles” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 122, an F-35C Lightning II from the “Warhawks” of VFA-97, and an EA-18G Growler from the “Vikings” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129. These aircraft represent the strike and electronic attack capability of the “Carrier Air Wing of the Future,” providing advanced technology and enhanced flexibility to our military combatant commanders. VFA-122 and VFA-97 are based at Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore, Calif.; VAQ-129 is based at NAS Whidbey Island, Wash. The squadrons staged and departed from nearby Luke Air Force Base (AFB).

According to a US Navy news release, the flyover also commemorated 50 years of women flying in the US Navy. In 1973 the first eight women began flight school in Pensacola, Fla., and one year later six of those eight women, titled “The First Six,” earned their Wings of Gold. Since then, women have served, operated and led at every level of Naval Aviation.

The all-female Navy aviation team that conducted the flyover at Super Bowl LVII featured:

Arielle Ash

Squadron: VFA-122

Rank: Lieutenant

Aircraft: F/A-18E/F

Total Flight Hours: 910

Ash said before the flyover: ‘Flying an F/A-18 is definitely the coolest part about being in the Navy, and getting to fly with some of my closest friends is awesome.’

Margaret Dente

Squadron: VAQ-129

Rank: Lieutenant

Aircraft: EA-18G

Total Flight Hours: 1,300

Recently Deployed: October 2017- May 2018 onboard USS Theodore Roosevelt

She said before the flyover: ‘I grew up wanting to fly, just like my grandfather did as a Marine helicopter pilot in Vietnam, and my dad, as a life-long civilian pilot. Being a naval aviator is a realization of that dream. Nothing compares to flying jets off an aircraft carrier. I feel so fortunate for the privilege to serve this country alongside its finest, doing the job I love, with all the amazing friends I have made along the way.’

Lyndsay Evans

Squadron: EAWS

Rank: Lieutenant

Aircraft: EA-18G

Recently Deployed: 2018 CVW-2 onboard USS Carl Vinson

According to Evans the coolest part of being in the Navy is ‘Getting to travel the world and visit countries I wouldn’t get to on my own. And all the great people.’

Kathryn Martinez

Squadron: VFA-122

Rank: Lieutenant

Aircraft: F/A-18F

Total Flight Hours: 1,200

Recently Deployed: November 2019- June 2020 CVW-1 onboard USS Truman

Martinez said before the flyover: ‘I grew up in a Navy family and saw the friendships my parents fostered throughout my dad’s years in service. Being able to do the same as an adult has made my time in the Navy worth it. The flying is amazing, the people are even better.’

She looked forward to representing Naval Aviation at one of the world’s most-watched events.

“It’s not a feeling I can even put into words,” said Martinez. “It doesn’t get bigger than the Super Bowl, and I am humbled and honored to be able to participate with my friends and fellow Naval Aviators as part of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Saree Moreno

Squadron: VFA-122

Rank: Lieutenant

Aircraft: F/A-18F

Total Flight Hours: 1,200

Recently Deployed: April 2019- January 2020 CVW-7 onboard USS Abraham Lincoln

According to Moreno the coolest part of being in the Navy is: ‘The actual flying we do is by far the coolest part of being in the Navy. We, as aviators, forget how unique our job actually is, and being up in the sky has always reminded me how incredible it is.’

Caitie Perkowski

Squadron: VFA-192

Rank: Lieutenant

Aircraft: F/A-18E

Total Flight Hours: 602

She says about being in the Navy: ‘The Navy lets me fly an F/A-18E every day! I’ve waved jets into the wires of an aircraft carrier, dropped live bombs and flown at 100 ft and 500 kts over the desert. I am grateful everyday for the opportunity to fly and that I am able to defend my country, and I am motivated everyday but the purpose behind what I do and the support of my family and friends and the amazing work of all of the Sailors that enable us to be the premier fighting force in the world.’

Suzelle Thomas

Squadron: VFA-97

Rank: Lieutenant

Aircraft: F-35C

Total Flight Hours: 350

Thomas said about being in the Navy: ‘The coolest part about being in the Navy is getting to be a part of a team with the enlisted and officers in VFA-97. I love that my job is learning to fly my aircraft better every day and support our country. I admire the people I work with and feel blessed that this is my career.’

The fifth-generation strike fighter F-35C Lightning II integrates advanced stealth technology into a highly agile, supersonic aircraft that provides unprecedented battlespace awareness, versatility and survivability. The F-35C, which is the Navy variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, sets new standards in weapon system integration, maintainability, combat radius and payload that bring formidable multimission power projection capability from the sea.

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-35C Lightning II VFA-125 Rough Raiders, NJ406, 169160 / 2018

Entering fleet service in 1999, the F/A-18 Super Hornet, has earned a reputation as the backbone of the Navy’s carrier air wing and a workhorse within the fleet, continuing its key strike fighter role against the advanced threats of the 21st century. Designed to meet current Navy fighter escort and interdiction mission requirements, the Super Hornet maintains fleet air defense and close air support roles, as well as an increasing range of missions, including in-air refueling.

This model is available from AirModels – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.

The EA-18G Growler is a variant in the F/A-18 family of aircraft that combines the proven Super Hornet platform with a sophisticated electronic warfare suite that performs a variety of functions including communications jamming and countermeasures.

The following video shows the flyover at State Farm Stadium for Super Bowl LVII.

Thanks to the H/T from our friend Earl Belz

Photo credit: US Navy

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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