Ellsworth Airmen to flyover Super Bowl National Anthem
One of America’s unofficial holidays is this weekend-- Super Bowl Sunday
ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. (KOTA) - It is almost game time in Tampa, FL for the teams on the gridiron, and the teams in the sky.
“I’m super excited and fortunate enough to be a part of the crew that’s actually flying over the Super Bowl,” said Captain Abraham Morland, United States Air Force.
Three different bombers-- a B-1 Lancer from Ellsworth, a B-52 Stratofortress from Minot Air Force Base, ND, and a B-2 Spirit from Whiteman Air Force Base, MO, will flyover during the 2021 Super Bowl National Anthem. It is the first time all three types of bombers will fly over during the NFL’s biggest game.
“It’s an incredible honor,” said Major Michael Webster, an Instructor/ Weapons Systems Officer in the United States Air Force. “It’s the Super Bowl! You know, it’s millions and millions of viewers world wide, so to be able to showcase our capabilities from an Ellsworth standpoint as far as getting the jets ready and all of the support agencies on base that it takes to get a jet launched, and then obviously from the aircrew’s perspective being able to be part of it and actually be over Raymond James for the Super Bowl, it’s an incredible honor.”
“The hardest part is making sure that we take off on time to get down there,” said Morland. “The B-2 will actually be leading the formation, and they have systems on their jet and we do as well, and the B-52 have systems that we can make sure our timing is shacked. And from there, we’ll just fly over right on time.”
In December, the bases found out they were selected, and have been planning ever since. Morland said they will use the flight as a time to get in some additional training.
Although each crew is excited to be part of the big game, most of the communication has been business, on top of their day to day responsibilities.
“So we work with other platforms all the time-- day-to-day training, big exercises, but even something like this, just trying to hit the right timing for an event, just being over one place in time, with three airplanes coming from all over the country is pretty spectacular event,” said Webster. “So, we’re all going to take off from our separate bases, different take off times. We have a pre-planned re-join point, so we’re all going to get real close together and then hang out, and then fly to Tampa hold around there, then push in and make sure we hit our time over the stadium like we’re supposed to and make sure we look good as well.”
And while the crews are honored to fly above the stadium, Webster was disappointed that his team wouldn’t be taking the gridiron.
“Well, I’m a Packers fan, so my heart was broken a couple of weeks ago, so just looking really forward to a good game is really all I’m cheering for,” said Webster.
This Sunday, Tom Brady and the Buccaneers will take on the defending Super Bowl champions, Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes.
Kickoff for Super Bowl 55 is scheduled for 4:30 Mountain Time.
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