LINCOLN – Air Force pilot Tony Sullivan wasn’t a starter when he was on the Nebraska football team as a walk-on defensive end and special teams player from 2003 to ’07. He had one tackle during the ‘07 season.
But he must be on a very small and elite list of people who have played in a game for the Huskers at Memorial Stadium, and also piloted a military flyover over the stadium.
Sullivan was one of the pilots in the flyover on Saturday, flying an F-16 over Memorial Stadium.
There were four planes in the flyover – three F16s and one KC-135 tanker. One of the other F16s was flown by Sullivan’s younger brother, Robert Sullivan. They each grew up in Wahoo and attended UNL.
They’re both in the South Dakota Air National Guard and flew to Lincoln shortly before the game.
“We took off from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, about an hour before the game and met up with the tankers in air space, took formation with them and got ready and then flew over the field right at the end of the national anthem,” Tony Sullivan said.
They landed in Lincoln and drove to the stadium. The pilots and crew were introduced during the fourth quarter to huge applause. Sullivan got to visit the locker room after the game.
This was the first time Tony Sullivan has done a flyover for a Nebraska game.
“It’s been a dream of mine for a long time after playing here to be able to come back and do a flyover in the F16 with the Air National Guard for a game,” he said. “And to get to do it on the 9/11 memorial game, after 20 years, it’s pretty surreal.”
On their way back to South Dakota, the brothers did a flyover of their family’s home near Lake Wanahoo late Sunday morning.