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mesaSteeler
01-12-2011, 07:21 PM
Pittsburgh Area Native To Participate In F-15 Flyby At Steelers Playoff Game
http://www.wpxi.com/entertainment/26454582/detail.html
By: Carly Noel, WPXI.com

Posted: 4:58 pm EST January 11, 2011Updated: 7:06 pm EST January 11, 2011
PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh area native Ray “Banzai” Rounds will participate in the F-15 flyby over Heinz Field before the Steelers playoff game against the Ravens on Saturday.

“Aside from getting married and the birth of my children, this may be the greatest day of my life and certainly of my professional career. I mean honestly, two of my favorite things in life -- flying fighter jets and the Pittsburgh Steelers -- are all rolled into one afternoon. I'm not sure how you can top this,” said Rounds.

Rounds, a friend from North Allegheny High School (we're both 1999 graduates), contacted me when he learned that he and seven other members from the 391st Fighter Squadron will be featured in the sky during the National Anthem.

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Rounds’ squadron, nicknamed the Bold Tigers, is part of the 366th Fighter Wing at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho. Rounds has tried to bring the Bold Tigers to Pittsburgh for a flyby before, but real world deployments prevented it. This time, timing was on his side.

“Fortunately for me, my leadership was extremely supportive of this, and I'm just extremely grateful to them and the Steelers for the opportunity to showcase the air power that we proudly provide to America on a daily basis,” said Rounds.

The opportunity means the world to the Steelers fan, who brings his Terrible Towel with him on missions.

“Every combat mission I've ever flown has been flown with a Terrible Towel on my left glare shield and an American flag on the right. My Terrible Towel has been with me, saving coalition and American lives in Afghanistan, as well as deterring aggression in Korea and everything in between. It literally has years of blood, sweat and tears,” said Rounds.

The towel and the following Bold Tigers will join Rounds in the air on Saturday: Jamison "Flash" Baysden, Randy "Magnus" Webb, John "Vapor" Bott, Ty "Hog" Walsh, Michael "Garmin" DeRosa, Adam "Jiffy" Luber and John "Lar" Davis.

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“This is one of those once in a lifetime things, not just for me but for seven of my best friends and the maintenance personnel with us. We spend a lot of time deployed and away from our families, voluntarily and proudly; however, things like this raise morale not just for us, but for the whole squadron, in ways you can't imagine,” said Rounds.

Rounds describes flying a fighter as “absolutely thrilling.”

“Probably the best way I've heard it described is that it's like trying to drive a NASCAR race car while playing a chess match all while trying not to hit the ground,” said Rounds.

After the flyby on Saturday, Rounds will be on the sidelines at Heinz Field. I asked if there’s a Steeler he’s hoping to meet.

“You know, my wife wants me to say Troy [Polamalu] because she is not so secretly in love with him. In all honesty though, football is such a team sport -- from the practice team to the star quarterback. I see so many correlations to the military and the way we operate as a team. It would be such an honor to meet any and all of them. If you forced me to pick someone though, it would probably be James Harrison. His background story combined with the ferociousness with which way he plays, he is like a modern day gladiator, and I just respect the heck out of him,” he said.

Rounds thanks the 911th Airlift Wing in Moon Township for tanker support. Tankers will meet the Bold Tigers halfway to Pittsburgh to refuel.

Rounds and his wife, Ashley, have two children, Chase, 7, and River, 2.

Rounds is a 2003 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy. He has 900 flight hours in the F-15E with more than 300 combat hours and 69 combat missions.

Copyright 2011 by WPXI.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

pete74
01-12-2011, 07:30 PM
i dont know him but we were in the same high school at the same time

Nevermore
01-13-2011, 12:05 AM
That's pretty cool. Of course it is still the Air Force. Flaring to land is like squatting to pee. Get some carrier aviators in there and I'll be impressed!!! :chuckle:

SteelersinCA
01-13-2011, 01:13 PM
Good story.

floodcitygirl
01-13-2011, 01:32 PM
Very Cool! God bless him. Thanks for sharing this Mesa. :tt:

mesaSteeler
01-13-2011, 06:43 PM
Very Cool! God bless him. Thanks for sharing this Mesa. :tt:

You are welcome.

MasterOfPuppets
01-13-2011, 07:41 PM
http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa320/Jmcp24/F-15.jpg

Hobbes
01-13-2011, 09:27 PM
http://i52.tinypic.com/14ue2yb.jpg

SacknificentStew56
01-14-2011, 04:27 AM
Man, I wish I had his job. I'm in the Air Force working in communications but to be able to fly over Heinz and then be on the sidelines for a playoff game against the Ratbirds would be lovely. I need to change my career field ASAP!!

pete74
01-14-2011, 05:22 AM
Man, I wish I had his job. I'm in the Air Force working in communications but to be able to fly over Heinz and then be on the sidelines for a playoff game against the Ratbirds would be lovely. I need to change my career field ASAP!!

are you enlisted or commissioned

SacknificentStew56
01-14-2011, 07:46 AM
are you enlisted or commissioned

I'm an enlisted E-6 or Tech Sergeant. I initially wanted to play football for the AF Academy but didn't.

pete74
01-14-2011, 08:17 AM
I'm an enlisted E-6 or Tech Sergeant. I initially wanted to play football for the AF Academy but didn't.

thats cool. how long have you been in? 15 years? its a shame the air force dosnt have warrent officers

JackHammer
01-15-2011, 05:26 PM
Just wanted to check in and say WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I heard them coming from inside the house and ran outside. They flew almost a complete circle around my hometown. Pure awesome!!!! You could feel the power literally :D

SacknificentStew56
01-15-2011, 05:51 PM
thats cool. how long have you been in? 15 years? its a shame the air force dosnt have warrent officers

I've been in 16 years and counting. Yeah, no warrant officers in the Air Force.