When he hit the skies May 24 in an F-16 as a Hometown Hero, the pilot wasn't the only person in the plane with him, Shawn Grogan says.
The Ogden police officer was treated to a backseat ride in an F-16 Fighting Falcon that Thursday as part of the Air Force Thunderbirds Hometown Hero program.
The program is designed to highlight an individual from the local area who has sacrificed time and effort to improve the community.
As a member of the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force, Grogan was wounded in a January police shootout at the Ogden home of Matthew David Stewart.
Grogan soared 20,000 feet above the ground as the jet spun, rolled, climbed and flipped, pulling him through nine gs of force.
While in the air, Grogan was reminded of fellow officer Jared Francom, who was killed in the shootout.
"Jared loved to skydive, and I know he would have loved this," Grogan said, "so I absolutely felt like he was up there with me. He was a great friend and just a great guy."
As a police officer, Grogan is used to wearing a uniform, but it has never included a flight suit, G-suit, harness and helmet.
He said his F-16 flight was unlike anything he'd ever experienced before in his life.
"I've never done anything like that," he said. "But ever since I was a little kid, I would look up in the sky and see these guys, and I always wanted to be up there. The Thunderbirds made it happen for me, so I thank them."
Grogan's pilot, Lt. Col. Jason Koltes, said the jet reached a top speed of about 590 mph during his flight.
"We gave (Grogan) instructions on how to squeeze and keep the blood in his brain," Koltes said, "so he was able to pull nine gs, which is something almost nobody in the world can say."
Koltes said Grogan epitomizes the purpose of the Thunderbirds Hometown Hero program.
"We all think of Shawn as a hero for the things he does every day, but he told me that he was just another guy doing a job," Koltes said.
"It's people like him that make America great."