By Buddy Blouin
Every year, tens upon tens of millions of people take to their television sets, bars, restaurants, phones, and whatever/wherever else broadcasts are being shown, to watch the Super Bowl. It’s an American tradition that has become a worldwide phenomenon, from the Superbowl flyover, to the gridiron battle, to the big-ticket commercials. The pageantry involves much more than watching the actual sport of football, however, as intriguing as any matchup may be, there is simply a lot more going on than a football game in the NFL’s season ender. This year, as a familiar part of the show is taking place again, the Superbowl flyover aims to commemorate not only the beginning of football’s climax, but also the struggles and sacrifices of women becoming Flyers in the U.S. Navy.

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This Year’s Superbowl Flyover Will Honor 50 Years of Women Flyers in the Navy

Don’t be surprised to hear “Fly Eagles Fly” chanted across State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona for Super Bowl LVII as the Philadelphia Eagles take on the Kansas City Chiefs for a shot at the Lombardi Trophy. But the Superbowl flyover is the first flight of the afternoon that will command our attention. Before these two high-flying offenses meet on the gridiron, the Navy is performing the Superbowl 2023 flyover featuring three tactical aircraft squadrons. They will not only be flying over to complete the show following the National Anthem but will also honor women flying as Sailors for 50 years. “It’s not a feeling I can even put into words. 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,” said participating Naval Flight Officer Lt. Katie Martinez. 50 years of women flying in the Navy sparked a new wave of flying Sailors and forever changed history. In 1973, eight women were chosen to begin training in Pensacola, Florida, with six of them earning a spot as a Naval Aviator within the force. This was a groundbreaking, glass ceiling-shattering moment that paved the way for others to soar high above and do everything from defending our beautiful country to inspiring patriotism through initiatives such as Lt. Amanda Lee flying with the Blue Angels.

Barbara Allen Is Cleared for Takeoff

There are plenty of names to remember during Super Bowl 2023. Major stars are everywhere, including Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts, the Kelce brothers, and many more. But it’s Barbara Allen that you’ll want to remember before kickoff.

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Allen was the first female cleared to become a Navy Jet Pilot among the initial six women who made the cut. Working her way up, Allen would reach the rank of Lieutenant Commander during her career within the military branch. Allen was brought up in a military household, which only supplemented her work and career path that led to her attaining her historic position. Barbara Allen would become a part of the Navy Reserve before going on to serve at multiple installations including the Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek and as a part of the staff of the Supreme Allied Command, Atlantic in Norfolk, VA. After marrying her husband John C. Rainey, Barbara Allen Rainey continued her military career, and in 1981, when the Navy needed more flight instructors, she stepped up to help teach the next class of aviators. Unfortunately, her time was cut short. While training Ensign Donald Bruce Knowlton on touch-and-go landings, their aircraft would crash. Both Allen and Knowlton would perish as a result. However, both did so while doing historic work to improve the Navy and serving our country through the ultimate sacrifice.

Here Are the Planes for The 2023 Superbowl Flyover

The Superbowl flyover planes will feature a formation of two F/A-18F Super Hornets from the Flying Eagles of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 122, an F-35C Lightning II from the Argonauts of VFA-147, and an EA-18G Growler from the Vikings of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129. Luke AFB will be responsible for providing the aircraft with a place to take off and land. The Superbowl flyover is always special and this year’s event is no different. It’s a great tribute to the women Flyers of the Navy, who receive our thanks for helping to defend this nation’s freedom through their breathtaking aerial pursuits.

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