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VMFA(AW)-224 soars through the sky for Jacksonville fans

By Cpl. Monique Smith, | | November 25, 2007

 With thousands in attendance, Marines from Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 224, also known as the Bengals, performed a flyover to kick off the Jacksonville Jaguars versus the Buffalo Bills National Football League game at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla., Nov. 25.

 The Thanksgiving weekend flyover took place just after the National Anthem in the Jaguars' 12th game of the season.

 "The Jacksonville Jaguars feel that the presence of U.S. fighter aircraft to emphasize the National Anthem is important to show the commitment the Jaguars and our fans have to our country and the men and women serving to protect our freedoms," said Kurt Wisenbaugh, the promotion and events coordinator for the Jaguars. "We try to have a flyover every game, so I was excited that the Bengals were interested and able to support the game."

 In order to support the Jaguars, the Bengals flew from the Air Station to Naval Air Station Jacksonville Sunday to prepare for the performance.

 "It was a win-win situation for us," said Maj. Clay Berardi, the executive officer and operations officer for VMFA(AW)-224. "We were able to get training out of the flyover and we were honored to get tickets to the game for our Marines."

 After the flyover, the pilots and weapons and sensors officers had a chance to get on the field to watch the game. During the third quarter, the Marines were taken on the field to be recognized by the crowd.

 When the game was over, everyone was happy with the way everything turned out.

 "I thought the flyover was perfect," Wisenbaugh said. "The jets were fast, loud and most importantly, right on time. It really made our pre-game ceremony special. Our fans, players and organization loved it. The pilots were all great to work with."

 "Everything was great," Berardi said. "I'm new to the squadron so for me, it was good training and a chance to fly with guys I've never flown with."

 The Jaguars beat the Bills 36-14 to improve their record to 8-3. The Jaguars will travel to Indianapolis, In., Sunday where they will take on the Colts. If the Jaguars win, they will lead the American Football Conference South.