UK officer to fly over son’s NFL game with the US Navy

  • Before Cleveland Brown’s punter Jame Gillan takes the field against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, he will have the rare opportunity to watch his father fly overhead in a US Navy submarine hunter.
  • Jamie “Scottish Hammer” Gillan’s father is Squadron Leader Colin Gillan, a UK Naval Flight Officer assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 1 in Patuxent River, Maryland, where he flies US Navy P-8As.
  • “It’s going to be very special,” Colin said of the planned flyover at First Energy Stadium in a recent interview with Insider. “To have Jamie on the field at the same time, it’s just going to be incredible.”
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For one lucky Brown’s player and his father, the start of Sunday’s game against the Bengals will be something special.

During the national anthem, Royal Air Force Squadron Leader Colin Gillan will fly overhead in a US Navy P-8A Poseidon as his son and Cleveland Brown’s punter, Jamie Gillan, prepares to take on Cincinnati at First Energy Stadium.

“It’s going to be very special,” Colin said of the planned flyover, telling Insider about what this means to him. “We’ll hear the cheer after the national anthem. That’s just going to be incredible. And, to have Jamie on the field at the same time, it’s just going to be incredible.”

"Scottish Hammer" with his father and the VX-1 crew

“Scottish Hammer” with his father and the VX-1 crew
Courtesy photo


Colin is a naval flight officer assigned to US Navy Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 1 in Patuxent River, Maryland, where he flies P-8As, an aircraft designed for anti-submarine warfare, among other missions.

He flew Hawker Siddeley Nimrod MR2 maritime patrol planes and P-3 Orion maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft before he came to the US and began working with the P-8A planes.

Jamie, who began playing rugby when he was five, was, according to his father, on track to potentially represent Scotland on the national team when Colin got the opportunity to leave his desk job in London and take a job with the US Navy.

Cleveland Browns' punter Jamie Gillan

Cleveland Browns’ punter Jamie Gillan
AP Photo/David Dermer


After relocating to the US, Jamie joined the Leonardtown High School football team as a kicker and punter. It was on that team that he earned the nickname “Scottish Hammer.” He went on to play football at the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, and in May, he was signed by the Cleveland Brown’s as a free agent. Sunday’s game against the Bengals will be his 14th NFL game.

“I wouldn’t be standing here right now with you if he didn’t take a job in America,” Jamie told the Cleveland Browns. Commenting specifically on the flyover, he said beforehand, “It gets the goosebumps going.”

Jamie’s father will be joined in the aircraft by Lieutenant Commander Eric Dube, Lieutenant Bryant Alsup, Lieutenant Tom Lightbody, and Lieutenant Dave Black.

Jamie Gillan in the cockpit of a US Navy P-8A Poseidon

Jamie Gillan in the cockpit of a US Navy P-8A Poseidon
Courtesy photo


The UK recently took possession of its first P-8A maritime patrol aircraft, a necessary and valuable asset given certain regional challenges, especially from Russia. Colin’s current assignment will end in 2021, and he will return to Scotland to share his knowledge and experiences with the military.

He told Insider that working with the US Navy has been particularly beneficial because he has been able to get his hands on the equipment early and get a feel for it.

“Having personnel here is a huge benefit to us,” Colin said, explaining, “When I return, I will have seen some of the software and equipment before the guys back in the UK have.”

“We have a deep and trusted relationship with our British counterparts, and we’ve been flying with them for a long time,” Capt. Hugh Winkel, the VX-1 commanding officer, told Insider.

“The trusted alliance will continue to run deep, and shortly, we’ll operate together executing Theater Anti-Submarine Warfare (TASW) in the high north, Atlantic Ocean, and Baltic Sea tracking Russian submarines,” he added in a Navy statement.

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