Navy Commander returns home to lead flyover before Vikings game

- As the Vikings fly into the bank Sunday, it's what will fly above the bank that will make noise and the man on the throttle. The U.S. Navy will fly over a team of jets to start the game and they’re from the Viking’s Squadron, VAQ-129 out of Washington State.

Sunday's border battle is a fight for the NFC North and nothing about this game is normal, especially for Navy Commander Brian Danielson.

"There's never not been a time I've been a Vikings fan.  Sometimes, it's an affliction I would say." Danielson said.

It’s more than just a football game flyover for Brian Danielson. It’s about his father, who he barely knew. U.S. Air Force Captain Benjamin Franklin Danielson was shot down over Laos in 1969, and no one could find him.

“When I found out they were going to go back to Laos and since I was still in the Navy at the time I asked them if I could go and I actually one of the people who got to go look for him. And that was a really meaningful experience to get to go see where my dad was on his last mission, where he was on the ground and trying and look for his remains." Danielson said.

One year later, those remains were found. In 2007, Captain Danielson was finally brought home to Kenyon, Minn.

"Family has been a core to my life as well as service to my country.  And, knowing that we've had so much support from the heartland and the people of Minnesota have been important to me." Danielson said.

Which is why his game time tribute, is a prayer sent on high-speed wings. Danielson and his fellow pilots fly EA-18 Growlers, which are essential Navy super-hornets built with electronic jamming devices to protect other aircraft from enemy missiles and ground troops from roadside bombs.

"Minnesota has always been a part of me, the Vikings have been a part of me, Flying in the Military has always been a big part of me, it's just a great moment and I'm thrilled to do it." Danielson said. 

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories you may be interested in – includes advertiser stories