PASADENA, Calif. — A pair of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber will honor the men and women of organ donors and their recipients during a fly over as the Tournament of Roses Parade kicks off on New Year’s Day.
The B-2 from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri will join up with the two F-35A’s from Edwards, AFB for the 8:00 a.m. PST start of the 129th Rose Parade (ABC-TV, NBC-TV).
As the two F-35 jets flank the bat like B-2, each F-35 will represent millions who have contributed to the organ donation program. “The F-35 on the left of the B-2 will represent all organ donors, while the F-35 on the right will symbolize all who have received organs that have prolonged their lives,” Edward’s 412th Test Wing confirmed.
One individual will be honored by both the Air Force and the Donate Life America organization.
Air Force F-35A pilot Major Benjamin “Chex” Meier, who suffered a massive head injury and was declared brain dead in 2015, donated many of his organs to save the lives of eight people who today welcome in 2018.
“Major Benjamin Meier saved the lives of many through his service as an Air Force pilot,” President and CEO of Donate Life America David Fleming said on Friday. “We are grateful to partner with the Air Force to honor Major Meier’s memory as not only a war hero, but also as a donor who helped save and heal the lives of many more through organ, eye and tissue donation.”
In addition to the honored fly over, a handmade floragraph of Major Meir made from dried flowers, seeds, and spices will be included on the Donate Life America parade float. Major Meir served with the 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron at Edwards at the time of his death.
(Charles A Atkeison reports on aerospace and technology. Follow his updates via social media @Military_Flight.)