NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 Flyover Was From Sheppard Air Force Base
If you thought the T-38s doing the flyover at the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, North Carolina, looked familiar, you were right.
WFAE in Charlotte is reporting that the aircraft and pilots on Sunday were from Sheppard Air Force Base.
All eight of the pilots involved were Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Instructors based here in Wichita Falls. The roster included one German, one British, and six Americans, one of which was from South Carolina.
The Carolina native was Major Joseph "Bird" Songer who told WFAE, “We’re mainly here to show our appreciation and respect for the fallen that have died, for Memorial Day weekend, saying thanks to the local community here and supporting the NASCAR race, as well,”
Major Songer has been in the Air Force for ten years and has been an instructor at Sheppard for four of them.
Another Sheppard pilot involved in the flyover was First Lt. Kristyna "Snap" Smith, one of only two female T-38 Talon instructor pilots out of 267 at Sheppard.
She told WFAE, “We are the only NATO pilot training unit, and for a lot of nations, we’re actually their only source of fighter pilots. It's a fantastic opportunity to get to learn so much about the different cultures that we’re going to be interacting with, and we build a lot of our joint-op experience through this training."
The First Lt. is currently working on her master's in international relations and working with the ENJJPT program has been an important part of that process. She says that getting to interact with the pilots from the NATO nations allows her to see their perspectives and is invaluable in international relations.
While the Coca-Cola 600 was her first NASCAR race she said that pilots and race car drivers both like to go fast so she can relate to them.
While we're well accustomed to the T-38 Talons flying over our heads here in Wichita Falls, I'm sure it was a treat for the NACAR fans at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.