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'Eddie the Eagle' star soars

NAVAL AIR STATION JOINT RESERVE BASE FORT WORTH, Texas (AFNS) -- Hugh Jackman, star of the upcoming movie "Eddie the Eagle," received a civic leader flight in an F-16 Fighting Falcon at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth from the 301st Fighter Wing Feb. 19 in a display of Air Force Reserve combat capability and air superiority.

"This is kind of a dream come true," Jackman said before the flight. "I'm very, very excited, a little nervous, and I'm fully aware how lucky I am to have this opportunity."

The wing flew Jackman prior to a sneak preview movie offered to base military members, employees, retirees and their families.

"There's an incredible amount of gratitude," he said. "When you're actually here on the base and you realize the dedication to this area of service, it's humbling and it's something all of us are very grateful for."

Jackman's co-star, Taron Egerton, and director of Eddie the Eagle, Dexter Fletcher, also visited and watched Jackman's flight from the air traffic control tower.

Egerton, in a special twist, coached Jackman through the jet's takeoff in a role reversal of the movie. In the film, Jackman acted as Michael 'Eddie' Edwards coach and Egerton performed as Eddie, the first ski jumper to represent Great Britain in the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.

Jackman experienced a few aerial maneuvers in the F-16, which involved a spiral dive from 8,000 feet and a low pass over the runway. He handled the flight well and, upon landing, had only a few words to say about his experience, "It was awesome."

The pilot, Lt. Col. David Efferson, the 457th Fighter Squadron commander, said he had never flown a celebrity this famous before but that the excitement is a good thing for the Air Force.

"Anything that we can get out, as far as our name and what we do, is good because our Airmen work so hard and do amazing things for our country," Efferson said. "Flying Hugh Jackman showcased us in a way that we normally don't have the chance to do. It was an honor to meet him, but for me, I'm more happy over the spotlight he's brought to our Airmen, the base, and the U.S. Air Force."

After the flight, the Eddie the Eagle stars then headed to the Movie Reel Theater for a meet and greet with service members before the movie presentation.