by TSgt. Timm Huffman
439th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
9/17/2012 - WESTOVER AIR RESERVE BASE, Mass. -- Thousands of University of Massachusetts football fans who attended the home opener at Gillette Stadium, Sept. 8, had front row seats to a C-5 flyover.
The matchup between UMass Minutemen and the Indiana Hoosiers, and the flyover, was televised nationally on ESPN 3.
Westover's honor guard presented the colors as the marching band played "America the Beautiful." A 337th Airlift Squadron spotter, SrA. Peter Gauvin, was perched high in the stands communicating with the C-5 aircrew and gave the go-ahead to begin the flyover.
UMass graduates flying the C-5 included Col. Jeff Hancock ('85, and 439th AW vice commander), Lt. Col. Mike Smith ('84, and 337th Airlift Squadron commander), and Maj. Dan LaBeouf ('99, 337th AS pilot).
The band transitioned into the Star Spangled Banner and the sun came out from behind the clouds. As the last notes of the national anthem faded and the crowds cheered, the Westover C-5 appeared on the giant "Jumbotron" field screen before roaring over the still-cheering fans.
Five Westover Airmen also had the opportunity to be present on the field for the coin toss, which was presided over by UMass alum Bill Cosby.
Indiana won the coin toss and opted to receive the kick-off and returned it for a touchdown and extra point. The Minutemen came right back at them and scored their own touchdown. Despite the fast start, UMass lost 45-6.