B-2 Flyover at Rose Parade Honored USAF Hero Major Benjamin “Chex” Meier

Jan 02 2018 - 5 Comments
By Tom Demerly

B-2 Spirit Flyover in California Honors Hero. Does It Suggest a Change in Alert Status too?

Parade goers celebrating the new year at the Tournament of Roses Parade on January 1, 2018 were treated to a magnificent display of state-of-the-art U.S. Air Force airpower when two F-35A Lightning IIs and a B-2 Spirit made a spectacular flyover of the parade route.

The Rose Parade flyover honored USAF Major Benjamin “Chex” Meier, a USAF F-16 pilot who flew combat missions over Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya and received the Air Force Medal. Major Meier was also assigned to the 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron as an F-35A Lighting II pilot at Edwards Air Force Base. The flyover not only memorializes Major Benjamin Meier, who died in a non-aviation related accident while running on base at Edwards on September 28, 2015, it also acknowledges his heroic legacy from his wishes to donate his heart, lungs, liver and kidneys after his death to save the lives of five people awaiting organ transplants. Major Meier is survived by his wife and two sons. The two F-35As that participated in today’s flyover were from Major Meier’s former unit, the 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron.

Today’s flyover honored USAF Major Benjamin “Chex” Meier for his service and selfless organ donations following his accidental death in 2015. (Photo: USAF)

Without reading too much into the beautiful memorial flyover held in splendid weather in Pasadena, it is worth noting that a recent planned B-2 flyover at the 2017 Aviation Nation Air & Space Expo at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, just 52 days prior to the traditional Pasadena flyover, was cancelled due to “re-tasking” according to Air Force Public Affairs at Nellis.

There was no specific description of the “re-tasking” that lead to the earlier Nellis flyover cancellation. It could have been maintenance requirements or it may also have been a change in alert status due to factors such as tensions with North Korea.

While there are no official confirmations about the specific reasons for the planned Nov. 11, 2017 flyover being cancelled, it may be reasonable to at least wonder if today’s flyover suggests a reduction in B-2 tasking requirements and possibly a correlating moderation (?) of tensions with North Korea. Again, there has been no official acknowledgement of this idea, but a flyover of one of only 12-14 combat ready B-2s represents almost 8% of the total force being committed for a number of hours to the flyover mission, when that availability wasn’t present just 52 days prior for Aviation Nation at Nellis.

There are only 19 total B-2 Spirit stealth bombers in the operational USAF inventory.

Any ideas?

Image credit: Mark Holtzman


  • leroy

    I wouldn’t read much into this. There are plenty of ways to put nukes on target in the DPRK if President Trump decides to. The U.S. has enough delivery systems to wipe Kim and North Korea off the map 1000 times over should circumstances require. And trust me, NK pulls any sh_t with their WMDs if/when preemptive military action takes place Kim and his cronies are gonna regret it like nothing they’ve ever regretted before.

  • leroy

    American military forces are ready, willing, and able to execute orders received should the need for nuclear attack arise. And we’re closer to such action than at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Kim is taunting the tiger, playing with fire, pulling on Superman’s cape. He’d do well to read the admonitions of Admiral Yamamoto just prior to the start of World War II. You don’t want to anger the awake (not sleeping) giant that is the USA. You do so at your own deadly peril!

  • Mixelflick

    Only 12 to 14 of 19 B-2’s are combat ready at any given time? This sounds ludicrous. The B-1 isn’t nuclear capable, so you’re telling me the elderly B-52’s are what’s left? And there are what, 70 some odd of those? Ridiculous. You can recall bombers in the event of an emergency/standown. The same can’t be said for ICBM’s/SLBM’s.

    We had seriously better get on the stick with rolling out B-21’s, and pronto..

  • leroy
  • Bulldogdriver

    The flypast could very well be part of a training sortie. Perhaps conduct over-water navigation and maritime interdiction over the Pacific followed by a simulated strike of a strategic target (Rose parade) with a precise time over target before returning to base.