View images of the VAQ-129 Vikings Flyover to open the Vikings-Packers game.
MINNEAPOLIS —It's not often that Vikings are cheered by Packers fans, but it happened Sunday in the 110th Border Battle.
After opening the game with a flyover of U.S. Navy EA-18G Growlers during the National Anthem, members of the VAQ-129 Vikings were recognized on the field to a standing ovation.
The VAQ-129 is a training squadron for the EA-18G that guides aviators who recently completed flight school through five phases of training that culminates with landing on an aircraft carrier, going 150 mph to 0 in less than two seconds. The squadron's planes feature vikings logos on their tails.
Commander Brian Danielson, a native of Kenyon, Minnesota, said the EA-18G is used for electronic attack with equipment that can jam enemy radar and communication "to provide a sanctuary for aircraft or guys on the ground to protect them from the IED threat and from the surface-to-air missile threats."
"It's a very technical mission, and because of that, we also have to learn how to protect ourselves, so we learn the air-to-air mission and have a little bit of an air-to-ground mission as well," Com. Danielson said.
It was the first flyover in which Com. Danielson has been involved in his home state since the remains of his father, Air Force Maj. Ben Danielson, were returned from Vietnam in 2007. Maj. Danielson was a fighter pilot who was shot down in December 1969.
"He was missing in action for 38 years. We found his remains and brought him home in 2007," Com. Danielson said. "A bunch of my squadron mates had a flyover for that service. It was a very special thing for me."
Despite the death of his father, Com. Danielson was drawn to the skies with his commitment to serve.
"It's a wonderful experience. It hooked me from the start," Com. Danielson said. "I really love the process of briefing, studying, doing those maneuvers and flying that airplane to the best of its ability. Getting to know that you are doing it for your country, to save other people and try to keep others safe, everything about it is a completely rewarding experience."
The group included: Commander Brian "Steamer" Danielson (Kenyon, Minnesota; St. Olaf College); Naval Aviator Lt. Denver "Meatloaf" Amerine (Corley, Arkansas; United States Naval Academy); Naval Flight Officer Lt. Christine "Sparky" Plecki (Madison, Wisconsin; University of Wisconsin); Naval Aviator Lt. Michael "Neuts" Farmer (St. Cloud, Minnesota; UND); Naval Flight Officer Lt. Kyle "Furry" Saraceni (University of South Florida); Naval Aviator Lt. Nate "Burns" Gingery (Okemos, Michigan; Michigan State University); Naval Flight Officer Lt. Liz "Gosho" Hall (Allentown, Pennsylvania; United States Naval Academy); and ground support/Intelligence Officer Lt. (JG) Nick Overby (Wanamingo, Minnesota; Minnesota State University, Mankato).