Defense

July 16, 2012

CSAF’s ‘fini flight’ a ride of remembrance

Tags:
by TSgt. Samuel King Jr.
Hurlburt Field, Fla.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz gets “hosed down” by his wife Suzie following his last flight as an active duty officer at Hurlburt Field, Fla., July 12, 2012. The MC-130E Combat Talon I crew conducted a local training sortie during the mission. It also served as Schwartz’s “fini flight” in the Air Force.

When Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz climbed aboard the MC-130E Combat Talon I at Hurlburt Field, Fla., July 12, for his last flight as an active duty officer, he immediately began to reminisce on his flying career with special operations and the C-130 Hercules community.

“This is more than a little sentimental for me to be back in this seat again,” the general said. “It’s a special privilege to complete my flying career on this aircraft.”

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz flies an MC-130E Combat Talon I during his last flight as an active duty officer near Hurlburt Field, Fla., July 12, 2012. The MC-130E Combat Talon I crew conducted a local training sortie during the mission. It also served as Schwartz’s “fini flight” in the Air Force.

During a visit to Hurlburt Field to meet with airmen and Air Force Special Operations Command leadership, Schwartz joined an MC-130E crew on a local training sortie, which served as Schwartz’s “fini flight” in the Air Force.

The MC-130E he flew, No. 64-0568, belongs to the 919th Special Operations Wing, an Air Force Reserve wing at Duke Field, Fla. Schwartz, who piloted No. 568 on a memorable but arduous mission in 1982, said the aircraft holds a special place in his heart. Before boarding, he stopped and saluted the aircraft, which along with the general is also scheduled for retirement.

Many of the flight crew for the mission had either flown with him or served under him during his special operations tours. The flight engineer, CMSgt. Tyler Outten, flew with him when he commanded the 36th Tactical Airlift Squadron at McChord Air Force Base, Wash., in 1987.

“It’s very special to have you here for this final flight, Tyler,” Schwartz said over the radio before the takeoff. “It’s amazing thinking about those fun times. Who would’ve thought we’d have ended up the way we did?”

Outten said he was thrilled to engineer one more flight for his former commander.

“It was an honor and a privilege to fly the general’s fini flight,” Outten said. “I consider him one of the most respected men to wear the uniform. He has been an overarching influence to me and many other Airmen over the years. He’s a class act.”

Between an airdrop and an aerial refueling of a CV-22 Osprey over the Gulf of Mexico, Schwartz and the crew shared stories and memories over the radio, remembering the “good ol’ days.” The general said jokingly that it had “been awhile” since he had seen that Combat Talon control panel he knew so well.

Lt. Col. Thomas Miller, the co-pilot for the flight, said Schwartz knocked the rust off quickly and got down to the mission at hand.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz taxis an MC-130E Combat Talon I after landing at Hurlburt Field, Fla., July 12, 2012. The mission was Schwartz’s last flight as an active duty officer and served as his “fini flight” in the Air Force.

“In his early years, General Schwartz was highly regarded as an outstanding Combat Talon pilot, and he was able to regain those same flying skills within a matter of minutes,” Miller said. “I was very impressed with his ability to adapt to mission changes. It was a true honor for all of us to share that last flight with him.”

The training flight ended with three touch-and-goes before returning to the Hurlburt Field runway where Schwartz’s wife Suzie and a group of well-wishers waited. Upon exiting the Combat Talon, Schwartz received the ceremonial “hose down” before greeting his old friends and colleagues, many of whom still live in the local area.

Even though he had just completed the last flight hours of his 39-year Air Force career, afterward the general was all smiles.

“To have the opportunity to join this outstanding crew on their training sortie, for one last flight while in the Air Force, was truly special,” Schwartz said. “They are true professionals dedicated to their country, and like all our airmen, I will always be proud to have served alongside them.”

Schwartz’s retirement ceremony will be held Aug. 10 at Joint Base Andrews, Md.

CMSgt. Tyler Outten and Maj. William Palmatier watch as Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz flies an MC-130E Combat Talon I July 12, 2012, during his last flight as an active duty officer. The MC-130E Combat Talon I crew conducted a local training sortie during the mission that also served as Schwartz’s “fini flight” in the Air Force. Outten and Palmatier are reservists with the 919th Special Operations Wing.




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


 
 

 

Headlines July 30, 2014

News: Software to power F-35 running as much as 14 months late¬†- Software needed to operate Lockheed Martin’s F-35 jet, the Pentagon’s costliest weapons system, may be as much as 14 months late for required flight testing, according to a Pentagon review.   Business: Lockheed will turn on JLTV production line In August; 6-D truck...
 
 

News Briefs July 30, 2014

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,197 As of July 29, 2014, at least 2,197 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,819 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Tom Reynolds

F-35B successfully completes wet runway, crosswind testing

Lockheed Martin photograph by Tom Reynolds F-35B aircraft BF-4, piloted by Lockheed Martin Test Pilot Dan Levin, starts down the runway as part of wet runway and crosswind testing at Edwards AFB, Calif. In an important program ...
 

 
boeing-chinook

Boeing delivers first U.S. Army multiyear II configured Chinook

Boeing July 29 delivered the first multiyear II configured CH-47F Chinook helicopter to the U.S. Army one month ahead of schedule. The delivery was celebrated in a ceremony at the production facility in Ridley Township, Penn. ‚...
 
 
Army photograph by SSgt. Angela Stafford

Engineers developing safer, more accurate tracer round

Army photograph Tracer rounds enable the shooter to follow the projectile trajectory to make aiming corrections. However, the light emitted by these rounds also gives away the position of the shooter. Engineers at Picatinny Ars...
 
 
NASA photograph by Carla Thomas

Katherine Lott awarded NASA Armstrong employee scholarship

NASA photograph by Carla Thomas Katherine Lott, the recipient of the 2014 NASA Armstrong Employee Exchange Council Joseph R. Vensel Memorial Scholarship, is congratulated by NASA Armstrong center director David McBride. Flankin...
 




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>