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    RAF Naval Flight Officer and Father of Cleveland Browns Football Player to Conduct Flyover

    NORFOLK, Va. – A United Kingdom Naval Flight Officer (NFO) assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 1 in Patuxent River, Maryland, will be part of the National Football League’s (NFL) pre-game festivities Dec. 8 as his son takes the field as a member of the Cleveland Browns.

    Squadron Leader Colin Gillan, a member of the U.K.’s Royal Air Force (RAF), will be part of the U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon crew performing a flyover as Jamie Gillian, the Browns’ punter, waits to face AFC North division rival Cincinnati Bengals.

    “I am so excited about it. To be flying over First Energy Stadium in a P-8A with my squadron is just a fantastic opportunity and the fact that my son is down there is amazing,” said C. Gillan, who will be joined by his wife and other family members to watch his son play.

    Nicknamed the “Scottish Hammer,” J. Gillan was signed by the Browns in May 2019 as an unrestricted free agent, but his path to the NFL was anything but ordinary. J. Gillan started playing rugby at the age of five and had less than a year under his belt playing football before accepting a scholarship to the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff (UAPB) and is now a punter for the Cleveland Browns.

    “I told him, ‘You’ve got a strong leg on you, keep your eye on the prize,” said C. Gillan, who has served in the RAF for 23 years.

    “My dad has dedicated many years to the military, and if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have this opportunity,” said J. Gillan. “For me to be standing in the Cleveland Browns’ Stadium, watching my dad and his squadron fly over will be an incredible moment.”

    Colin Gillan, who will return to Scotland after his assignment ends in 2021, discussed the opportunity he has had working alongside his American counterparts.

    “It’s been a great opportunity to test future capability, a lot of interesting flying with highly professional Navy aviators and support personnel,” said C. Gillan. U.K.’s joint work at VX-1 is in preparation for its first of nine P-8A aircraft.

    Capt. Hugh Winkel, commanding officer, VX-1 discussed the benefit of RAF officers, such as C. Gillan, at the command.

    “For the past seven years, VX-1 naval officers and British RAF officers have worked side-by-side in the execution of P-8A operational test,” said Winkel. “Now the RAF is ready to take delivery of the first UK P-8. The trusted alliance will continue to run deep, and shortly we’ll operate together executing Theater Anti-submarine Warfare (TASW) in the high north, Atlantic Ocean, and Baltic Sea tracking Russian submarines.”

    The mission of VX-1 is to test and evaluate airborne anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-air warfare (AAW), anti-surface warfare (SUW) weapons systems, airborne strategic weapons systems, as well as support systems, equipment, and materials in an operational environment.

    VX-1 provides trained people, test ready aircraft, and access to state-of-the-art facilities necessary for the development of innovative technology to support the war fighting needs of the operating forces.



    Date Taken: 12.08.2019
    Date Posted: 12.08.2019 18:42
    Story ID: 354713
    Location: US

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