KNOXVILLE, Tn. – Pilots from the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), executed a military flyover of the NCAA University of Tennessee vs. University of Alabama football game.
More than 100,000 fans packed Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn., as the number six ranked Tennessee Volunteers hosted their rival, the number three ranked Alabama Crimson Tide.
College Gameday, an iconic Saturday morning pre-game football show, traveled to Knoxville to set their broadcast in front of the “Game of the Week” crowd.
Just before kickoff, at the conclusion of the national anthem, two AH-64 Apache and one UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters flew over the stadium to the cheers and applause of a sellout crowd. The AH-64 conducts rear, close, and shaping missions, including deep precision strikes for the United States Army. The UH-60 is the Army’s utility helicopter and provides air assault capabilities in support of military operations.
Major Jared Maxwell, Executive Officer for the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade and University of Tennessee graduate, piloted the Blackhawk during the flyover. “It was a huge honor for me to be able to fly over my alma mater during such a big game.” Said Maxwell. “We have a partnership with the University of Tennessee, and with such a large audience, it was a great opportunity to represent the Army and the 101st Airborne Division.”
When asked about the experience he said it was a once in a lifetime feeling. “I remember as we were flying over the stadium, I was thinking back to 15 years ago when I graduated, and so many memories came flooding back. Not just of me, but all the friends I made who became cadets and then became Soldiers.”
Maxwell graduated from the university in 2007 with a degree in History and Political Science. “Who would have thought Cadet Jared Maxwell would be Maj. Maxwell one day, flying over Neyland Stadium.”
The University of Tennessee won the game on a last-second field goal to beat Alabama 52-49. Something they haven’t done since Maxwell was a Junior in the 2006 season. The NCAA rankings flip-flopped for the two teams following the upset, with Tennessee now ranked number three in the nation and Alabama number six.
The total score of the game…101 points.