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Rivals turned Wingmen take flight

The skies aligned for two pilots and former college football players who were able to support their alma maters in a once-in-a-lifetime way on game day. Maj. Britton Komine, 204th Airlift Squadron, and Capt. Nathaniel Dreslinski, 535th Airlift Squadron, flew the C-17 Globemaster III over Aloha Stadium Saturday, Oct. 19, to demonstrate the power of the Air Force’s most flexible cargo aircraft at the U.S. Air Force Academy versus the University of Hawaii football game.

Capt. Nathaniel Dreslinski, 535th Airlift Squadron pilot, prepares to perform a flyover at Aloha Stadium on a C-17 Globemaster III October 19, 2019, near Honolulu, Hawaii. The flyover was performed during the closure of the U.S. national anthem at an Air Force Academy and University of Hawaii football game. Dreslinski and his copilot, from the Hawaii Air National Guard’s 204th Airlift Squadron, were prior athletes to the opposing teams. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman John Linzmeier)

The skies aligned for two pilots and former college football players who were able to support their alma maters in a once-in-a-lifetime way on game day. Maj. Britton Komine, 204th Airlift Squadron, and Capt. Nathaniel Dreslinski, 535th Airlift Squadron, flew the C-17 Globemaster III over Aloha Stadium Saturday, Oct. 19, to demonstrate the power of the Air Force’s most flexible cargo aircraft at the U.S. Air Force Academy versus the University of Hawaii football game.

A total-force aircrew, consisting of members of the 204th and 535th Airlift Squadrons, huddle for a pre-flight briefing October 19, 2019, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. The team comprised of active-duty Airmen from the 15th Wing and members from the Hawaii Air National Guard, who conducted a flyover at Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, for an Air Force Academy and University of Hawaii football game. The C-17 Globemaster III was piloted by prior athletes who each played for opposing teams. Active duty and ANG units at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam conduct flying operations together on a nonstop basis to maximize their ability to integrate as a cohesive team for any mission tasking. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman John Linzmeier)

The skies aligned for two pilots and former college football players who were able to support their alma maters in a once-in-a-lifetime way on game day. Maj. Britton Komine, 204th Airlift Squadron, and Capt. Nathaniel Dreslinski, 535th Airlift Squadron, flew the C-17 Globemaster III over Aloha Stadium Saturday, Oct. 19, to demonstrate the power of the Air Force’s most flexible cargo aircraft at the U.S. Air Force Academy versus the University of Hawaii football game.

Maj. Britton Komine, 204th Airlift Squadron pilot, inspects a C-17 Globemaster III October 19, 2019, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, Hawaii. Komine integrated with an aircrew from the 535th Airlift Squadron to perform a flyover at the Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. The maneuver was held in celebration of a football game between the Air Force Academy and the University of Hawaii. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman John Linzmeier)

The skies aligned for two pilots and former college football players who were able to support their alma maters in a once-in-a-lifetime way on game day. Maj. Britton Komine, 204th Airlift Squadron, and Capt. Nathaniel Dreslinski, 535th Airlift Squadron, flew the C-17 Globemaster III over Aloha Stadium Saturday, Oct. 19, to demonstrate the power of the Air Force’s most flexible cargo aircraft at the U.S. Air Force Academy versus the University of Hawaii football game.

A total-force aircrew, consisting of members of the 204th and 535th Airlift Squadrons, step toward the ramp of a C-17 Globemaster III October 19, 2019, during a flyover sortie over Honolulu, Hawaii. The flyover took place during the closure of the U.S. national anthem at an Air Force Academy and University of Hawaii football game. Active duty and ANG units at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam conduct flying operations together on a nonstop basis to maximize their ability to integrate as a cohesive team for any mission tasking. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman John Linzmeier)

The skies aligned for two pilots and former college football players who were able to support their alma maters in a once-in-a-lifetime way on game day. Maj. Britton Komine, 204th Airlift Squadron, and Capt. Nathaniel Dreslinski, 535th Airlift Squadron, flew the C-17 Globemaster III over Aloha Stadium Saturday, Oct. 19, to demonstrate the power of the Air Force’s most flexible cargo aircraft at the U.S. Air Force Academy versus the University of Hawaii football game.

Maj. Britton Komine, 204th Airlift Squadron pilot, and Capt. Nathaniel Dreslinski, 535th Airlift Squadron pilot, performs a flyover toward Aloha Stadium on a C-17 Globemaster III October 19, 2019, above Honolulu, Hawaii. The flyover took place during the closure of the U.S. national anthem at an Air Force Academy and University of Hawaii football game. Both pilots were prior athletes to the opposing teams – Komine, a Hawaii Rainbow Warrior and Dreslinski, an Air Force Falcon. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman John Linzmeier)

The skies aligned for two pilots and former college football players who were able to support their alma maters in a once-in-a-lifetime way on game day. Maj. Britton Komine, 204th Airlift Squadron, and Capt. Nathaniel Dreslinski, 535th Airlift Squadron, flew the C-17 Globemaster III over Aloha Stadium Saturday, Oct. 19, to demonstrate the power of the Air Force’s most flexible cargo aircraft at the U.S. Air Force Academy versus the University of Hawaii football game.

Maj. Britton Komine, 204th Airlift Squadron pilot, flies toward Aloha Stadium on a C-17 Globemaster III October 19, 2019, above Honolulu, Hawaii. A flyover was performed during the closure of the U.S. national anthem at an Air Force Academy and University of Hawaii football game. Komine and his active duty copilot, from the 535th Airlift Squadron, were prior athletes to the opposing teams. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman John Linzmeier)

JOINT BASE PEARL-HARBOR, Hawaii -- The skies aligned for two pilots and former college football players who were able to support their alma maters in a once-in-a-lifetime way on game day. Maj. Britton Komine, 204th Airlift Squadron, and Capt. Nathaniel Dreslinski, 535th Airlift Squadron, flew the C-17 Globemaster III over Aloha Stadium Saturday, Oct. 19, to demonstrate the power of the Air Force’s most flexible cargo aircraft at the U.S. Air Force Academy versus the University of Hawaii football game.

It has been 15 years since Komine played as wide receiver for the Rainbow Warriors and four years since Dreslinski played for the Falcons as a tight end. As former players, the pilots appreciate the significance of their time on the field and the duties they perform around the globe.

“I took a lot of lessons learned from playing at the University of Hawaii, went through a lot of trials and tribulations and was able to get here and have a good career so far flying this awesome aircraft,” said Komine. “Part of our mission is empowering whoever we can fit in the back of our aircraft—whether it’s for humanitarian relief or airborne troops from the Army, Navy Seals, or cargo and personnel, we can deliver them anywhere in the world.”

Komine is assigned to the Hawaii Air National Guard 154th Wing, while Dreslinski is active-duty in the 15th Wing. The units seamlessly and routinely work together to accomplish the global airlift mission in the Indo-Pacific theater. Leveraging capabilities and honing interoperability to fully integrate Guard and Reserve personnel strengthens mission sets across the Air Force.

Dreslinski called it when asked who he thought would win the game before taking off for the flight, modestly choosing his USAFA Falcons. For him, flying over the game was an accomplishment for the entire TFI aircrew that shows how the Guard and active duty are on one team.

“It was truly an incredible experience to be fortunate enough to fly this line with such an incredible team,” he said. “The total force integration we have as airlift squadrons is a key part in the success of our mission.”

The Falcons defeated the Rainbow Warriors with a final score of 56-26, but for Dreslinski and Kommine, the real victory is being able to fly along with Airmen in the world’s greatest Air Force.