FORT WORTH, Texas (Dec. 19, 2017) – Officials at the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl have announced their plans for the pregame flyover prior to the 15th annual college bowl game on Saturday. The flyover will feature helicopters from the legendary 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR), more commonly known as the Night Stalkers.
Various aircraft from the regiment, including the MH-60 Black Hawk assault helicopter made by Sikorski, which is owned by Lockheed Martin, will be participating in the event.
The 160th SOAR trains and employs Army Special Operations Aviation (ARSOA) forces to provide worldwide support to Combatant Commanders. The acclaimed 2002 movie “Black Hawk Down” was based on the Night Stalkers unit.
In 1980, a failed mission (Operation Eagle Claw) to rescue hostages held by Iran prompted the formation of Task Force 158. From that task force, the decision was made to form a standing Army Special Operations Aviation Task Force, the Night Stalkers. The Night Stalkers quickly established a reputation in the Special Operations community as a unit that always delivered at the right place, at the right time, with the right assets.
The Night Stalkers have been involved in some of the world’s highest-profile missions in recent years. In December of 2003, when Saddam Hussein was captured by U.S. forces in Operation Red Dawn he was exfiltrated by an MH-6 Little Bird from the 160th SOAR and taken into custody at Baghdad International Airport.
In Afghanistan in 2005, eight Night Stalkers were lost along with eight Navy SEALs on a rescue mission for U.S. Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell when their MH-47 Chinook helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG).
“We couldn’t be more excited to have the Night Stalkers conduct our flyover this year,” Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl Executive Director Brant Ringler said. “We knew that we needed to do something extra special to celebrate our 15th anniversary, and this certainly qualifies. Fans need to be in their seats early, as this will be an unforgettable event.”
The 15th Annual Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl features the Army West Point Black Knights (9-3) against the San Diego State Aztecs (10-2). The game will be played Saturday, Dec. 23 at 2:30 p.m. (CT) at TCU’s Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth.
Tickets range from $30 for general admission seating to $75 for lower bowl reserved seats. A limited number of seats are also available in the exclusive Champions Club located on the west side of the stadium. At $125, these tickets include premium seating, complimentary food and beverages, and access to the inside of the club level. Tickets may be purchased at www.ArmedForcesBowl.com.
The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, played in honor of the armed forces of the United States, is the only collegiate football bowl game that has hosted all three U.S. Military Academy football teams. Air Force has appeared in the game five times (2007, 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2015), while Navy has played twice (2013, 2016). Army, which made its debut in 2010, will be making its second appearance.
The annual game has featured the “armed forces” theme since 2006. Patriotic overtones recognizing all five branches of service are prevalent throughout the game. Past Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowls have included fan-fest adventure areas showcasing armed forces hardware; flyovers; demonstrations by several of the military's top skydiving teams; custom homes awarded to wounded warriors; on-field induction ceremonies; armed forces bands and honor guards; and the annual Great American Patriot Award presented by Armed Forces Insurance.
The matchup will be televised nationally on ESPN. It also will be aired in both English and Spanish through GameDay Radio.
The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl is one of 14 bowl games owned and operated by ESPN Events, a subsidiary of ESPN.