University of Dayton grad leads Super Bowl bomber flyover in Tampa

DAYTON — Captain Sarah “Gucci” Kociuba, a graduate of the University of Dayton, is leading the Super Bowl bomber flyover during today’s big game.

A fighter jet flyover typically takes place at the Super Bowl, but this year a trifecta of Air Force bombers will take to the skies Sunday above the stadium in Tampa before the Buccaneers and Chiefs play in the NFL championship game.

Kociuba, originally from Cleveland, Ohio, attended UD and earned her commission through AFROTC at Wright State University.

She was able to attend the University of Dayton and become an Air Force officer through a cooperative agreement with Wright State University’s Department of Aerospace Studies. Wright State is the home of Detachment 643 and the host site the AFROTC program.

UD recognized Kociuba and the Super Bowl flyover in tweet Sunday morning.

After graduating, Kociuba went to Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi, learned how to fly and earned her wings. She flew KC-10′s, deployed several times and now flies and is an instruction pilot for the B-2 program at Whiteman AFB, according to KSLA-TV.

She will be piloting the B-2 Spirit that will lead the flyover during today’s big game.

The B-1 will be on Kociuba’s right and the B-52 will be on her left, she said in an interview with KSLA-TV. The three aircrafts will fly in a triangular formation.

Numerically, the bombers 1, 2 and 52 add up to 55, for Super Bowl 55. The Air Force called it a “first-of-its-kind-trifecta,” according to WSOC-TV.

“I’m very humbled to be chosen to be part of this formation and to lead it,” Kociuba said.

“When I was little I went to a lot of air shows and I really loved seeing the jets as a little kid. When I was 11 my parents took me to the Rose Bowl parade and I got to see the B-2 flyover then. I was awestruck and mesmerized by the jet. I am very excited to be on the other end of this now and be the pilot leading the formation. Hopefully just seeing the jets, seeing this awesome formation of bombers together will inspire some kids out there and young adults to potentially do this as well like it did for me.”

Kociuba will miss the big game because the flight is expected to take seven to eight hours round trip.

“I will be cheering on the Chiefs for this one, so hopefully no one will give me any spoilers because I’ll land after the game is done,” she said.

Franchesca Hackworth, WHIO

My journey at WHIO-TV began when I took a summer internship on the Breaking News Desk in May 2019. At a young age I quickly realized I had a passion for writing and the power words can have on our lives. Seeking opportunities to give those who feel voiceless a place to be heard is what drives me each day and reminds me why I began writing.