Military Appreciation football game at Virginia Tech to feature flyover

Military Appreciation Day

A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III from the 6th Airlift Squadron taxis after landing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Matt Hecht)

The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets will celebrate Military Appreciation Day and its alumni returning for Corps Reunion by coordinating a flyover by the impressive and enormous C-17A Globemaster III during Saturday’s football game against Furman University.

The U.S. Air Force will send the aircraft from the 6th Airlift Squadron at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, to fly over the stadium while the Highty-Tighties, the Corps of Cadets regimental band, are playing the National Anthem.

Kickoff is scheduled for noon. The flyover is subject to change based on weather and operational barriers.

The C-17A Globemaster III is capable of rapid strategic delivery of troops and all types of cargo to main operating bases or directly to forward bases in the deployment area. The aircraft is 174 feet long with a wingspan of 169 feet and can carry up to 85 tons of equipment and personnel.

The crew of five is made up of three pilots, a loadmaster, and a flying crew chief. One of the pilots is a corps alumni: Maj. Mark R. Amos of the Class of 2008, who earned a degree in electrical engineering.

The 6th is the oldest airlift squadron in the Air Force, formed on Oct. 14, 1933. The unit made airlift history during World War II when, in October 1942, it became the first personnel transport squadron to fly in the Pacific Theater. The squadron earned the nickname “Bully Beef Express,” as it carried tons of boiled beef to Allied combat troops in Australia and New Guinea. The French called it “bouilli boef.”

Today, the unit flies in support of combat, humanitarian relief, and presidential support operations around the world.

In addition to its history, the squadron is also special to the Corps of Cadets because it was the unit at which Commandant of Cadets Maj. Gen. Randal Fullhart, then a lieutenant, began flying operational missions in an Air Force career that would take him around the globe.

Other events planned during the game for Corps Reunion include:

  • Cadets will be collecting donations for the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia, at all gates before kickoff. Since 2001, the Corps has collected more than $200,000 for the memorial and is the largest, noncorporate sponsor of the D-Day memorial.
  • About 200 Corps of Cadets alumni will march onto the field during the pre-game ceremonies to honor our flag during the National Anthem.

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