By Marybel Rodriguez

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SUNRISE (CBSMiami) — Now to a weekly segment you will only see right here on CBS 4.

Every Friday, in partnership with the Florida Panthers, we put the spotlight on a hero among us, men or women who have gone beyond the call of duty for our country.

Today, we are meeting U.S. Navy Veteran Mathew “Whiz” Buckley, who served in the United States Navy from 1991 to 2000 and the reserve until 2006.

Born on the beach and with a love for aviation Lt. Buckley says the Navy was the perfect combination for him.

Always wanting to serve his country, he enlisted and flew the F/A 18 hornet for the United States Navy for 15 years and graduated from the Navy Fighter Private Academy, also known as Top Gun.

He did two combat deployments on board the Abraham Lincoln and Kitty Hawk and flew 44 combat sorties over Iraq in support of operation Southern Watch.

“The hardest part as a fighter pilot was the landing back aboard the aircraft carrier during the day it’s the sport of kings during the night it borders on absolute terror.  Men and women out on the tip of the hemisphere doing some pretty serious stuff.  I’m proud that I was involved and the tradition continues,” said Lt. Mathew “Whiz” Buckley.

Lt. Mathew “Whiz” Buckley was recently honored at a Florida Panthers game with a standing ovation, and with his family by his side; this emotional fighter pilot stood and thanked the crowd for the honor.

On behalf of the Florida Panthers and CBS4, we would like to say thank you Lt. Michael “Whiz” Buckley for your service.

Marybel Rodriguez

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