Photo courtesy of Whiteman Air Force base

January 23, 2021

U.S. Air Force Reserve Lt. Col Rick “McGraw” Mitchell, the commander of the 303rd Fighter Squadron, Maj. Mike “Vago” Hilkert, Maj. Geoffrey “Oreo” Manter, and Capt Josh “Shadow” Burress are scheduled to fly a 4-ship of A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft over the American Football Conference championship game at approximately 5:40 p.m. CST on Jan. 24, at Arrowhead Stadium.

The flyover will be supported by the 442d Fighter Wing maintainers launching the A-10s, more commonly known as the “KC Hawgs,” and a ground crew of two pilots monitoring the flyover from the stadium.

When the 442d Fighter Wing moved from Richards-Gebaur to Whiteman Air Force Base in 1995, it was imperative to maintain our KC identity. Flying the Kansas City Chiefs arrowhead on our tails was a small way to keep our aircraft identified with the area and our community partners.

“We take great pride in fostering community relations and the arrowhead symbolizes our legacy and our commitment to excellence,” said Col. Mike Schultz, the commander of the 442d Fighter Wing. “The arrowhead can be seen on the tails of our A-10s and represents our roots and dedication to our Nation. Today, we celebrate the Kansas City Chiefs’ historic achievement in a third straight AFC Championship appearance at home.”

The 303d Fighter Squadron returned from a four-month deployment to Afghanistan in December, 2020, and is the world’s premier close air support squadron. The “KC Hawgs” are operated by the 442d Fighter Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, 45 miles east of Kansas City. The wing has deployed 15 times, in multiple combat operations around the world and continues training to support troops on the ground for tomorrow’s fight.