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.


 
 

 
Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez

Smart-mortar will help Soldiers more effectively hit targets

Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez Nick Baldwin and Evan Young, researchers with the Armament Research Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, Pennsylvania, discuss the 120mm Guided Enhanced Fragmentation Mortar ...
 
 

Air Force assigns new chief scientist

The Air Force announced the service’s new chief scientist to serve as a science and technology adviser to the secretary of the Air Force and the chief of staff of the Air Force, May 21. Dr. Greg Zacharias will be the 35th chief scientist and is ready to “dive in” to his new role. “I...
 
 

TSgt promotion release delayed to allow system validation

Technical sergeant promotion selection results, originally scheduled for release May 28, will be delayed to enable the Air Force to continue to validate extensive system changes to the Weighted Airman Promotion System, officials announced. The 15E6 technical sergeant promotion cycle is the first to incorporate recent changes in the enlisted evaluation and promotion system. Recent...
 

 

Freedom completes rough water trials

The littoral combat ship USS Freedom completed Seakeeping and Structural Loads Trials, commonly referred to as Rough Water Trials in late March the Navy reported May 21. The U.S. Navy must demonstrate the seaworthiness and structural integrity of each new ship class. One of the primary ways the Navy verifies these qualities is through a...
 
 

Air Force releases Strategic Master Plan

The Air Force officially released the Strategic Master Plan May 21, which is the latest in a series of strategic documents designed to guide the organizing, training and equipping of the force over the coming decades. The SMP builds on the strategic imperatives and vectors described in the capstone document, America’s Air Force: A Call...
 
 

HYT extension possible for SrA-MSgt in 35 career fields

Eligible senior airmen, staff sergeants, technical sergeants and master sergeants in 35 Air Force specialties will be able to apply for a high year of tenure extension and, if approved, will be able to extend between 12 and 24 months past their current HYT. The Air Force is introducing several personnel and manpower initiatives to...
 




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>