Home » Aviation » VIDEO: Navy Conducts 21-Jet Flyover During President Bush’s Interment Ceremony


VIDEO: Navy Conducts 21-Jet Flyover During President Bush’s Interment Ceremony

Today the Navy flew a 21-jet flyover in honor of late naval aviator and 41st president George H.W. Bush. Bush died Nov. 30 at the age of 94.

More than 70 years after his near-fatal bombing mission in World War II – when his TBM Avenger operating from aircraft carrier USS San Jacinto was shot out of the sky – Bush maintained an extraordinarily close relationship with the aircraft carrier that bore his name, USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77). The Norfolk-based carrier honored Bush this week with a flashlight vigil at sea, and by sending 115 sailors from the crew to help receive Bush’s remains at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland ahead of his casket lying in state at the Capitol Rotunda.

30 F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets from Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia departed this week for Texas, where 21 of them today flew a massive missing man formation over the interment ceremony in College Station, Texas. Bush was buried at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum alongside his wife, Barbara, and daughter, Robin.

The Navy has never flown this kind of 21-jet formation to honor a fallen aviator or statesman. When former presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford died, the Air Force performed similar 21-plane flyovers with F-15Es from the 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C.

According to a Navy news release, the sea service took the Air Force’s formation and put a spin on it, flying the first four four-jet formations in the shape of a diamond instead of the “fingertip formation” shape, and altering the timing of the flyover.

“It’s special because not only was he the 41st president, but he was also a naval aviator,” Cmdr. Justin Rubino, who served as the forward air controller on the ground during the flyover, said in the news release.
“He flew off aircraft carriers just like we do today, and that’s a bond all of us share. He’s one of us. Sure he was the president of the United States, yes, but he was also a naval aviator.”

  • NavySubNuke

    A fitting tribute to one of Naval Aviations finest.

  • Mike Collins

    Can anyone with naval flight experience explain why the tail hook would be extended during these flyovers?

    • 32193932

      Tailhook down is just a salute.

      • Condorman

        Source please? It was questioned after McCain’s funeral.

        • Rocco

          There is no source for that!! It’s just protocol!

          • Condorman

            (head scratch) Odd reasoning there. Protocol with no origin record even if unofficial…

          • Wondering

            I’m not military so I might be missing this by a mile but I was a firefighter and there are things that are traditions that if you are one you learn from others.
            There just isn’t any record

          • Condorman

            I understand your point. Any bit of providence helps though.

          • Rocco

            Agreed kudos

          • Condorman

            May I ask what any of those “unwritten” firefighter traditions are please?

          • Rocco

            They are lived & learned!! Something you millennials need to do!!

          • Condorman

            I’m not a millennial, I grew up with Condorman, a 80’s movie. Seriously you should calm down. LAFF

          • Rocco

            Well you sure act like one!! & Don’t tell me to Calm down because that really irritates me!!

          • Condorman

            Well calm down then.

          • Rocco

            GFYS

          • Condorman

            Stay classy.

          • Rocco

            Let just say discreet!! I’ll be classy to those that don’t busy my balls!!

          • Rocco

            Yeah keep scratching!!

    • Condorman

      I searched someone’s explanation-
      I had to ask my Naval Aviator BQ bud about the tail hooks. His answer:

      “When you return to the carrier, the first thing you do, before lowering gear or flaps, was to lower your tail hook. It signifies you’ve accomplished your mission and are ready to land back home on the carrier.

      So GHW Bush, mission accomplished, come home.

      • Rocco

        That’s not true!! You lower the hook so the air boss car visually verify its down otherwise you ain’t coming aboard until last!!. If your gonna make unsubstantiated comments make sure it’s true!

        • Condorman

          Feel free to correct that poster then-
          texags com/forums/16/topics/3006601/replies/53310474

          • Rocco

            That’s OK! I don’t need to I know what I’m talking about. I served on 3 carriers! & You are new on this thread!

          • old guy

            You are correct.

          • Rocco

            Thanks old Dude!! Lol

          • Condorman

            Thank you for your service. What does me being “new on this thread” mean and matter? As this thread shows- 32193932 was the first to reply, followed by me, and then you. By your arbitrary criteria, 32193932 who’s only post ever on this site should be questioned. Calm down. (!)

          • Rocco

            If I have to explain I’d be wasting my time!

  • ngatimozart

    RIP Sir.

    There are no flowers on a sailor’s grave
    No lilies on an ocean wave
    The only tribute is the seagulls sweep
    And the tears upon a loved one’s cheek
    Fear not for those who go down to the sea in ships
    For as sunset draws near and dawn breaks afar
    We remember those who have crossed the bar

  • Rocco

    God Speed Bush 41!! , You’ll always have wings of Gold!! 😇👼⚓

  • Bill

    I saw five groups of four. Did anyone see the 21st jet?

    • Condorman

      This recording started late so only the sound of the lead single jet is heard. Search and you’ll find other more complete footage.

    • Rocco

      Yeah Bush saw it!! That’s all that matters!⚓

      • muzzleloader

        Bush saw it? He’s dead.

        • Rocco

          Thanks a pretty thankless thing to say!! Especially for me as I had the privilege to me him !! , So spiritually it’s a sad day for me & this country. He may not be on this earth now but he’s certainly looking down!! Yes in my opinion he saw the flyover!! I don’t need an incentive A whole reply!!

  • Duane

    From the article: Interesting that the Air Force did the missing man for President Ford instead of Navy aviators. Ford served in the Navy in WW Two, mostly in aviation (but not as a pilot) with sea duty on a carrier in the Pacific, the USS Monterey. Finished his naval service as a Lt. Commander. Prior to his sea duty he instructed naval aviation students on various subjects including navigation, ordnance, gunnery, etc.

    • old guy

      OH, you mean they shot down his aircraft carrier, right?

  • tim

    PPP in filming this … there is almost no shot of the missing man separation … the closeness of the jets does not show well from afar and for more effect I would have liked to see them linked in a row – fly mach speed with a boom like gun salutes – and upon return a full 21 v formation with a missing man 🙂

    • Rocco

      Agreed!! Looks like the media failed on this!!

  • KenofSoCal

    BZ to all the Naval Aviators involved.

    • Rocco

      BZ??

      • Todd Voge

        Bravo Zulu. Meaning “Great Job”.

        • Rocco

          Oh lol! Duh!!! Thanks Todd

  • USNVO

    A fitting tribute, but why did they need to bring 30 aircraft for a 21 aircraft missing man formation? Is it indicative of the poor readiness of the Super Hornet/Growler fleet or an over abundance of caution?

    • Rocco

      In case of breakdown……..s

      • USNVO

        Obviously, but do you really need 9 aircraft to back-up 21? Are they expecting a possible 40pct abort rate? It just seemed excessive. Not complaining, just curious.

        • Rocco

          I thought the same thing. However more than one air wing flew this tribute! & All in short notice to prepare would be my only explanation to why …..To keep a promise as planned! It was all well done. Except for the media image of the flyover

        • Rocco

          OK I just saw the Aviationest thread. Stated that because of bad weather all of the Jets were not able to get fully fuelled. So extra jets from fort Worth were included.

  • Sting Lucha

    Go Navy…..Beat Army !!Frank Castle

  • old guy

    Never a more appropriate or warranted display, for a man who dedicated his entire life, both militarily and civilian, to the welfare and security of this wonderful country, the UNITED STATED of AMERICA>

    • Rocco

      Kudos

  • Ed L

    Since I wasn’t an aviator I was looking for a massive 21 ship formation. Why? Because back in the late 70’s I witnessed a 12 ship F-14 flyover at Oceana NAS. It was extremely impressive