When jets fly over the Horseshoe this weekend during the OSU-Navy game, Eastside friends and families will be looking upward proudly.
John Schindel, a 2000 Pickerington High School graduate and captain with the U.S. Marine Corp., will get a bird’s eye view of the game when he participates in a flyover with the FA-18 Hornet squadron, the VMFA (AW) – 224 Fighting Bengals.
"I’m very excited for the opportunity to fly over my hometown," he said. "It will be thrilling to fly over some familiar sights. I will be on one of the wing aircraft in the flyover, so my role will be to fly a tight parade position on the lead jet."
Flying is something Schindel has dreamt of, so his decision to join the military came naturally.
"Going into my senior year, I knew I wanted to join the Marine Corps and I also wanted to fly, so electing Marine Corps aviation out of school was the best fit for me," he said.
Schindel was stationed at Corpus Christi, Texas, and San Diego for flight school before checking into his current base in Beaufort, S.C., about a year ago. His squadron recently returned from a six-month deployment to Japan where he participated in several large force exercises with other countries.
While in town, Schindel said he will participate in several training flights in the area.
"We’ll be doing quite a bit of flying over the long weekend, but I’m hoping to have some time to spend with the family," he said.
His wife, Erin, a 2001 Pickerington graduate, also will return home this weekend with him, and says she’s looking forward to spending time with family and watching their two favorite football teams compete.
But don’t think the decision about which team to root for is an easy one for the couple.
"I am a big college football fan," John Schindel said. "It’s going to be great to enjoy the game at the Shoe, but I hesitate to say that I will be pulling for the upset."