Citadel graduate to lead F-35 flyover at national championship game
College Football Playoff National Championship to be broadcast to millions across the country
CHARLESTON, S.C. – It is American tradition to kick off a national sporting event with a demonstration from the armed forces showcasing talent and skill. This Monday, Jan. 11 at 8:30 p.m. Maj. Matthew “Diesel” Mayer, Class of 2004, will lead the squadron of fighter jets that will flyover the College Football Playoff National Championship in Phoenix, Arizona.Clemson graduate Capt. Casey Manning will join Citadel grad Maj. Matthew Mayer and two other pilots from nearby Luke Air Force Base in a four-ship, a tight formation of F-35 fighters.
“Ever since I was a little kid I have been infatuated with aviation and becoming a pilot because of the movie Top Gun. It’s an awesome feeling to be able to do something I love while also serving my country,” said Mayer on being a pilot.
This will be the Citadel graduate’s first flyover of an event and he says he’s excited about the opportunity and has been enjoying the planning process for the nationally televised game. The game will pit Clemson versus Alabama for the national title at the University of Phoenix Stadium.
After the exercise he and members of the squadron plan to return to the stadium to watch the game with friends and family that will be traveling from South Carolina. Although Mayer is a Gamecocks fan, he will be rooting for the Clemson Tigers on Monday.
Each spring about 30 percent of The Citadel’s graduating cadets commission as officers in every branch of U.S. military service with about a quarter of those going to the U.S. Air Force. Graduates of The Citadel have served the Air Force since its inception in 1947. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.