Navy jets doing game flyover will be rooting for Army
By JACK DORSEY, The Virginian-Pilot
VIRGINIA BEACH — Two of the four Navy F/A-18 jet pilots performing a ceremonial flyover for the start of Saturday’s Army-Navy game in Philadelphia will be rooting for the Army.
What’s more, they’ll be wearing West Point class rings.
The pilots – who claim they bleed Army green beneath their Navy uniforms – are Lt. Cmdr. Paul Campagna and Lt. Cmdr. Bobby Baker of Strike Fighter Squadron 86 out of Beaufort, S.C.
Flying alongside them will be Lt. Cmdr. Mike Amos and Cmdr. Sara Joyner, executive officer, of Strike Fighter Squadron 105 based at Oceana Naval Air Station here.
Amos and Joyner will be wearing their Naval Academy rings, Class of 1993 and 1989 respectively.
Their allegiance is unquestionable.
As for Baker and Campagna, “we’re definitely wearing Army class rings,” Baker said Thursday.
“That is where we went to school. We’re proud of the fact we are West Pointers. … We are Army at heart.”
Campagna and Baker were originally Army helicopter pilots but switched services when the Army began getting rid of some older aircraft and the Navy was having a pilot shortage, Baker said.
They had never flown airplanes, so they went through Navy flight school in Pensacola, Fla.
Amos said the four have become great friends. Baker was once assigned to VFA-105 as well.
“They might be the only two Army pilots flying Navy F-18s,” Amos said.
“Ends up being an honor to do this. What makes it special is to have a couple of Army guys flying Navy jets. I hope irony is not lost on that.”
All four pilots are scheduled to fly over Lincoln Financial Field at exactly 2:31 plus 30 seconds.
They will land at Willow Grove, Pa., about 20 miles away, then will drive to the football field.
They hope to arrive by halftime.
“Given a choice, we’d like to sit on the Army side,” Baker said.
But he’s seen before what cadets do to a midshipman who sits on the wrong side.
“They don’t just take his hat. They take the whole midshipman. I think we’ll sit in the press box.”
My allegience is unquestionable.