Maj. Matthew “Diesel” Mayer, a 2004 graduate of the Citadel, led a squadron of fighter jets during the flyover prior to the College Football Playoff National Championship in Phoenix, Arizona.
“Ever since I was a little kid I have been infatuated with aviation and becoming a pilot because of the movie 'Top Gun.' It’s an awesome feeling to be able to do something I love while also serving my country,” Mayer said.
This was the Citadel alumnus’ first flyover of an event and he said he was excited for the opportunity and enjoyed the planning process for the nationally televised game. After the flyover, Mayer – along with family and friends – returned to the stadium to watch the game.
About 30 percent of the Citadel’s graduating cadets commission as officers every spring, throughout branches of the United States military, with roughly a quarter of them going to the Air Force. Graduates of the Citadel have proudly served the Air Force since 1947, when the branch was created.