Unified Skies: Air Force and Navy collaboration takes center stage NFL AFC Championship Game

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Ruben Garibay
  • 377th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Members from the 58th Special Operations Wing and the Navy Parachute Team, joined forces for coordinated tandem airdrops and a flyover at the American Football Conference Championship game: Kansas City Chiefs versus the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore, Maryland, Jan. 28, 2024.

Working together, the 58 SOW supported the Navy Parachute Team, also known as the “Leap Frogs”, by conducting a flyover during the game, where the Leap Frogs jumped from the plane and successfully landed on the football field.

“Every time we work with the Air Force, I learn something new,” shares Benjamin Pitassi, Senior Chief of the Navy Parachute Team. “Whether it’s how they calculate and coordinate the parameters to conduct and perform drops, or simply just having a better understanding of the jobs of the crew or the pilots.”

These smaller operations provide valuable training opportunities for the U.S. military, preparing them for larger missions in the event of an actual call to action.

“As a maintainer, ensuring the readiness of the aircraft is paramount,” Staff Sgt. Paxton Russo, 58th Maintenance Squadron crew chief, explains. “Contributing to this mission alongside our fellow service members underscores the importance of our role in upholding our nation's defense and I am proud to have played a part in that."

The commitment of the Air Force, spanning from maintainers to pilots, holds significance in ensuring overall mission success. Collaborative efforts across branches are crucial for achieving operational success and shaping the future of the military.

“It’s great that we are strengthening those connections between branches and really cultivating that connective tissue,” reflects Pitassi. "At the end of the day, we are all going to be relying on each other if the American military ever has to do its job.

Events like these are a powerful reminder of the unity and collaboration among our Armed Forces, showcasing their synchronized strength and dedication to serving our nation.

“I think that America’s military is strong because of these connections we have with our branches,” Pitassi continues. “The ability to be able to interact with each other and work with each other is amazing and important. No one-service by itself can be effective by itself, so it's great that we are able to come out here and work with the Air Force and we always appreciate the support.”

Unity echoes throughout the ranks of the military, reaffirming the potency of the military in safeguarding our nation’s security and interests.

“Our maintainers get to work in a different environment with different people which provides us the opportunity to learn a variety of specialized fields of our work and the work of others,” describes Russo. “Even if it's just a sporting event flyover, it still provides training and experience for similar missions that may occur in the future.”

The collaboration between both branches not only enhances operational capabilities, but fosters a sense of camaraderie and mutual respect amongst all branches of the military.

“Shoutout to the 58 SOW and more specifically the 415th Special Operations Squadron,” Pitassi adds. “It’s a pretty special thing to get dropped out of a C-130 aircraft over a major metropolitan area.”