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Iowa Air Guard performs flyover at Iowa vs Purdue football matchup

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot
  • 185th Air Refueling Wing

Iowa City, Iowa -- A U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft and crew from the Iowa Air National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing, took to the skies over the University of Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium this weekend.

The Iowa Air Guard unit from Sioux City was helping fuel pregame excitement as they performed a flyover at the Iowa Hawkeye football game in Iowa City on Saturday.

Aircraft Commander Lt. Col. Scott Smit said this is the first time he has gotten to be a part of a flyover with the KC-135. Smit said this is also the first flyover the unit has performed since in person sporting events were shut down a year-and-a-half ago.

“There is a lot of enthusiasm when you get an opportunity to be a part of something like this,” Smit Said.

The flyover was just prior the opening kickoff where Iowa played host to Purdue in front of a capacity crowd on a near perfect fall day.

Iowa Air National Guard aircraft have been part of the pregame activities in Iowa City before, but Smit said the aircrew are always excited when they get a chance to help cheer on the home team.

“We have a lot of fans and a lot of Iowa graduates in the unit,” Smit added. “We have lot of people who want to be a part of it and a lot of people are excited to see our jets overtop of the stadium.”

The Iowa Guard aircraft is unique to the Air Force, designed primarily for providing inflight refueling for U.S. military and partner nation aircraft.

The Iowa Air National Guard has units in Des Moines which is home to the 132nd Wing, Sioux City’s 185th ARW and Fort Dodge, Iowa which is home to the 133rd Test Squadron. 

The Air Guard draws membership from across the state, including unit members from the Iowa City - Cedar Rapids area. Most members serve one weekend each month and two weeks each year.

As a community based organization, most unit members live and work in Iowa. Many unit members use benefits of National Guard membership, like 100% tuition assistance to complete their undergraduate degree at Iowa colleges like the University of Iowa.

Flying demonstrations like the one on Saturday are part of the U.S. Air Force aerial events program that are designed to incorporate training activities with aerial demonstrations. These events also help foster unit morale and contribute to community support.

Smit said it is not guaranteed who will perform specific pregame flyovers. He added that the event at Kinnick this weekend was unique because it was an all Iowa crew flying an Iowa aircraft over a home crowd.