Sunday, December 21, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Thunderbirds give deputy the ride of his life

deputy thunderbird 5_1_14

Solano County Deputy Jackson Harris hugs his son Owen Harris Thursday at Travis Air Force Base, after a ride in a F-16 Fighting Falcon jet, as part of the USAF Thunderbirds Hometown Hero program. Harris was named 2013 Deputy of the Year by the Solano County Sheriff’s Office. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | May 02, 2014 |

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE — The best moment for Solano County Deputy Jackson Harris came when Maj. Tyler Ellison flicked his agile, high-performance F-16 Fighting Falcon jet fighter over onto its back 16,000 feet over Northern California.

“Up until then, there was so much blue looking out the canopy, then it was the complete opposite,” Harris said of the maneuver that put him upside down over Earth. “It was outstanding, the best of the best.”

Harris was one of the lucky people chosen to fly with one of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds on Thursday when the premiere  aerial demonstration team came to Travis to get ready for this weekend’s Thunder Over Solano air expo and open house.

Harris was chosen earlier this year as the 2013 Deputy of the Year by the Solano County Sheriff’s Office for his eight years of hard work and dedication as a patrol officer, bailiff and Coroner’s Office detective. He got the word last month that he was going to be the recipient of the Thunderbird’s Hometown Hero program.

The idea behind the program is to both honor hometown heroes such as Harris for their service to their community and to promote the Thunderbirds’ mission.

“He has been grinning from ear to ear,” said one of the deputies who came with him Thursday to Travis.

His family also came with him as he went through a series of briefings to prepare him for the flight and got suited up.

Five-year-old Brody Harris pointed excitedly to the aircraft carrying his father and piloted by Thunderbirds Operations Officer Ellison as it shot up off the runway, saying, “He’s up there!”

Not to be outdone, 4-year-old Jack Harris proudly said his father was “going halfway to the moon!”

When Harris landed and was greeted by his kids, Jack Harris asked his father if he had made it to outer space, with Jackson Harris replying he at least got to “a little bit of outer space.”

Ellison had nothing but praise for his passenger.

“It was a truly exceptional experience to take him up,” Ellison said.

The pilot pointed out that Harris’ fortitude allowed Ellison to put the F-16 through all its paces and the maneuvers it will be going through during this weekend’s air expo.

Harris was presented not only with a photo signed by the entire team, but also shook hands with all the Thunderbirds present.

“It was such an honor to come out today,” Harris said. “It was the chance of a lifetime and I am never going to forget this.”

Harris said he prepared for the flight the best he could, watching what he ate the day before and praying that he wouldn’t get sick or black out.

Prior to Thursday’s flight, the closest Harris said he had ever come to this “was flying on Southwest Airlines.”

When the F-16 took off, Harris said it felt like “an insane amount of pressure” and that he had to remember how to keep breathing properly to keep from blacking out.

When Harris and his family come back this weekend for the air expo, he will have the pleasure of knowing while watching the Thunderbirds performing that he was able to share the sky with them.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or ithompson@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson has worked for the Daily Republic longer than he cares to remember. A native of Oregon and a graduate of the University of Oregon, he pines for the motherland still. He covers Vacaville and Travis Air Force Base for the Daily Republic. He is an avid military history buff, wargamer and loves the great outdoors.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

The Salvation Army serves 1,000-plus across 2 days

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1, 5 Comments | Gallery

 
Blue Christmas service offers reflection, hope

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1

Shining bright for all to see: Locals deck out yards, homes

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Time for annual Solano County quiz

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

Bevy of holiday activities at Western Railway Museum

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
State Fair scholarship applications available

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Get tested, know your status

By Morgan Westfall | From Page: C4

 
Free New Year’s celebration slated

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

 
 
New development fees start Jan. 1 in Vacaville

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

A word of warning for Senator Warren

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7, 6 Comments

 
New technology chief will join McNaughton Newspapers

By Tanya Perez | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Suisun City police log: Dec. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Fairfield police log: Dec. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Sky-high price has VA rationing hep C drug

By Tom Philpott | From Page: B10

.

US / World

Air Force admits nuke flaws, but will fixes work?

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
AP sources: Cops’ killer angry at chokehold death

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 7 Comments

 
Officials: Missing dog was dyed to deceive

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Immigrants build document trails to remain in US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
California officer kills teen after machete attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

 
4 teens die in fiery head-on crash in Pennsylvania

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

2 dozen injured in southern Indiana bus crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Texas ranchers seeking alternative incomes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
Panama’s Noriega in prison 25 years post-invasion

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

North Korea proposes joint probe over Sony hacking

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
2 car bombs rock southern Sweden’s city of Malmo

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Bombings kill 12 in Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

 
US sends 4 Afghans back home from Guantanamo

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Burying the dead after Pakistan’s school massacre

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
A chance to breach divide for young in Cuba and US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoon: Dec. 21, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
New school finance strategy lacks accountability

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

Season’s greetings from the Obamas

By Alexandra Petri | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
Sound off for Dec. 21, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Today in History: Dec. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Vatican offers olive branch to US nuns

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3, 1 Comment

Why celebrate Christmas?

By Noel Reese | From Page: C3, 2 Comments

 
Horoscopes: Dec. 21, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

Should I ask grandson why we weren’t included in wedding photos?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
.

Entertainment

Review: ‘Five’ by Ursula Archer is intriguing

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

Publisher hopes to sell books through Twitter

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
Chris Colfer has multi-book deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

Jerry Lee Lewis: Sustained by brief blaze of glory

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

New Giants 3B McGehee eager to play back home

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Interim coaching jobs present challenges in bowls

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

49ers squander 21-point lead in 4th straight loss

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
No. 11 Lady Vols trounce No. 7 Stanford 59-40

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Eagles near elimination, fall 27-24 to Redskins

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Raiders place cornerback Brown on injured reserve

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Big moves bring big hope for Chicago baseball

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
US skier Nyman wins Gardena downhill for 3rd time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Vonn wins women’s World Cup downhill in France

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
This date in sports history for Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
.

Business

Your info has been hacked. Now what do you do?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
On the money: 4 ways to hold on to your cash when renting a car

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Recalls this week: Bean bag chairs, toy monkeys

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Scarecrows outnumber people in dying Japan town

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

.

Obituaries

Marian Kay Zutz

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Bart Ferro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Dominic C. Scolaro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Barbara Jean Bidstrup Braker

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Perry Michael Smetts

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Luzdivina B. Banks

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Arnold Howard Evans

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Anthony Hanson Elder

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics