Baylor Baseball Alum Now Flying High For The Air Force
Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
Before the gridiron action started Saturday at Baylor's game with the Oklahoma Sooners, fans in the stands were treated to the sight of a four-plane formation flyover by Air Force jets. Maj. Brad Oliver, who attended Baylor from 1979 through 1981, piloted the lead T-37 jet.
Oliver, three other instructors and their students flew to Waco the day before the game to work out logistics of the flyover. They learned that it would take two minutes to fly from the holding pattern to Floyd Casey Stadium. The plan called for the jets to zoom over the stadium at the end of the National Anthem, which runs one minute, 45 seconds. On game day, Capt. David Long of Baylor's ROTC unit would stand on the roof of the pressbox and radio to the pilots when they should start their run.
"When it is timed out well, the formation looks very impressive, and it will be great to perform at a Baylor game," Oliver said.
A native of the Waco area (his parents and sister still live in the city), Oliver has been a Bear fan since he was a child. "We used to sit in the endzone and hope to catch extra point kicks," he said. "I was there for the 1974 game where Baylor beat Texas and went with my parents to the Cotton Bowl against Penn State."
The Robinson High School graduate made his way to Baylor on an athletic scholarship when he was recruited by former baseball coach Mickey Sullivan to play for the Bears. He played second base on a team that included current baseball coach Steve Smith and former Baylor quarterback Jay Jeffrey. He also played summer ball with assistant football coach Scott Smith.
Oliver had not considered a career in the military when he left Baylor, but while working for a company after graduation, he decided to get his private pilot license.
"I became interested in flying and decided I wanted to make a career of it. I went and talked to an Air Force recruiter. It was a good decision. I don't know what I would do if I had to go to work for a living," he said.
During his 15 years as an Air Force officer, Oliver has flown C-141s out of northern California and C-17s from Charleston, S.C. He also served as a T-38 instructor pilot in Del Rio. Texas. Currently, Oliver is stationed at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, serving as T-37 instructor.
"Air Force pilots come to us, and we teach them to be instructors in our airplane, the T-37. I have been doing that for a year and a half and have another year and a half to go," he said.
The other participants of the flyover were Lt. Col. T.J. Bronder, Capt. Ted Lane, Maj. Alex Gonzalez, Maj. Dave DeRay, Maj. Greg Quehl, Maj. Todd White and Lt. Col. Gene Hodge.