Air Force

November 8, 2013

Pilot realizes childhood dream, still serves

Tags:
Airman 1st Class DEVANTE WILLIAMS
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Retired Lt. Col. James “Rusty” Mitchell poses with his A-10 Thunderbolt II in 1979 at the Royal Air Force Bentwaters, England. Mitchell’s military flying career took him around the world to places like South Korea, Colorado, and more, flying the A-10, then the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

As a child he always dreamed of being a pilot. Little did he know his dream would one day become a reality.

Retired Lt. Col. Rusty Mitchell, 56th Fighter Wing Community Initiatives Team director, served 22 years in the Air Force and retired not only as a pilot, but the first commander of the 21st Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base.

During his career Mitchell traveled around the world to places like England, South Korea, Colorado and more, flying the A-10 Thunderbolt II, then the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

Toward the end of his career, Mitchell was selected for promotion to colonel but due to family priorities chose to decline and retired in 1998.

“The decision to retire was hard, especially with having a line number for colonel but at the time my kids were transitioning to high school, my wife Pat had a job she loved as a registered nurse and the New Parents Support Program director here at Luke, and we wanted to ensure we stayed in the Phoenix area,” he said.

After retirement, Mitchell found a job working for United Airlines as a commercial pilot and while he continued to fulfill his dream of being a pilot, he still missed the military way of life.

“It was a definite difference when I retired from the Air Force and became a civilian,” Mitchell said. “I missed the sense of purpose and the quality of individuals I worked with. You can’t get that on the outside.”

Five years after his retirement Mitchell received a surprising call from then Brig. Gen. Philip Breedlove. Due to the rapid growth of the communities surrounding Luke, Breedlove, the 56th Fighter Wing commander at the time, wanted to form a Community Initiatives Team, which he asked Mitchell to lead.

“He asked me to come back and run his new team,” Mitchell said. “I felt like I was coming home to family. I was back working with Airmen on a full-time basis, which is what I missed the most.”
Although Mitchell currently has a full-time position at Luke, he continues to fly commercial aircraft part time.

“I decided to keep flying because that has been my passion since childhood,” he said. “I work a flexible 40-hour week schedule at Luke while also flying 75 to 80 hours a month with United. My position at Luke is an incredibly purposeful job. There’s great significance and a sense of accomplishment that comes with acting as a liaison between the local community and Luke Air Force Base. I wouldn’t change it for anything.”

Today, Mitchell continues to serve his country with the same passion and exuberance as when he first joined.

“I loved every day of my active-duty career as well as the gift of once again being associated with the professionals of today’s Air Force,” Mitchell said. “The young men and women of today’s Air Force truly make me proud.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Courtesy photo

Airmen reach terminal velocity

Courtesy photo Second Lt. Tanya Wren, 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Community Relations chief, takes in the expansive view after the chute was pulled at 3,000 feet. Luke Air Force Base Airmen were chosen to tandem jump with ...
 
 
Senior Airman Marcy Copeland

Military children celebrated for courage, resilience

Senior Airman Marcy Copeland Col. Jeremy Sloane, 56th Fighter Wing vice commander, signs the Month of the Military Child proclamation April 1 at the Luke Air Force Base Child Development Center. The Month of the Military Child ...
 
 

People First – April 17, 2015

Editor’s Note: The “People First” section is compiled from information from the Air Force Personnel Center, TRICARE, 56th Force Support Squadron, Airman and Family Readiness Flight, Veterans Affairs, the civilian personnel office and armed forces news services. For the complete story, click on the link in the title. CSAF describes future Air Force In the...
 

 

Air Force News – April 17, 2015

Greenland Thule Air Base and the 12th Space Warning Squadron’s location offers a unique and strategic vantage point in the execution of its missile warning and defense, and space surveillance missions in support of U.S. Strategic Command. The 12th SWS operates the Upgraded Early Warning Radar 24/7. Afghanistan After months of planning and construction, the...
 
 
Courtesy Photo

AIM: New resource for Airmen

Courtesy Photo Luke Airmen mingle during an Airmen in Mentoring session March 25 at Luke Air Force Base. AIM is a new program just getting started on base to help support new Airmen by providing mentors who have volunteered to ...
 
 
square

Help comes in shape of uniform

Senior AirmanMARCY COPELAND Second Lt. Tanya Wren, 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs chief of community relations, and Tech. Sgt. Priscilla Noll, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron furnishing management office NCO in charge, provided ...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin