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Last flight this afternoon by Delaware Air Guard's most experienced flyer, a resident of Newark, Delaware

Release Number: 070908

Delaware Air National Guard
Hedquarters, 166th Airlift Wing
2600 Spruance Drive
New Castle, DE 19720-1615

Contact: Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Matwey
Public Affairs Specialist, 166th Airlift Wing, Delaware Air National Guard
Office 302-323-3369, or cell 302-593-2126
E-mail: Benjamin.Matwey@denewc.ang.af.mil
Release No. 2008-9-007, September 17, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NEW CASTLE - This afternoon, Sept. 17, 2008, the Delaware Air National Guard's most experienced aircrew member will hang up his flying gloves and helmet after he completes his last military flight in a unit C-130 transport aircraft before his retirement next year.

Chief Master Sgt. Charles "Mike" Perry, a loadmaster with the 142nd Airlift Squadron and long-time resident of Newark, Delaware (zip code 19711), will receive a traditional water hose-down from firefighters on the flight line, then join a celebration with friends and family on base who will be present to witness this historic event.

News media are invited to cover either the aircraft boarding around 4:00 p.m., prior to the 4:30 p.m. takeoff, or the landing and modest celebration starting about 6:00 p.m.

Chief Perry has now accumulated slightly over 11,200 hours total flight time in military aircraft in his career. His first flight was 37 years ago this month, on Sept. 25, 1971, in a Delaware Air Guard C-130A model aircraft.

Only a handful of unit Airmen have achieved over 10,000 hours of aircrew flying time since the Delaware Air National Guard was founded in 1946. Chief Perry has the most hours of any member presently serving in the Delaware Air Guard.

Chief Perry flew 5,179 hours in the Lockheed C-130A transport aircraft from 1971 to 1984, and flew 17.0 hours aboard the C-130E model about 20 years ago. From 1983 to today he has accumulated slightly over 6,000 hours in the C-130H model, the Delaware Air Guard's current aircraft. His time includes over 1,100 hours total as an instructor or evaluator, with 439 combat flying hours and 2,992 combat sorties, and 298 hours flying combat support with 244 combat support sorties.

Chief Perry has nearly 40 years of service in the Delaware Air Guard, and enlisted in the unit in December 1968.

Chief Perry has flown combat missions into Afghanistan and Iraq from 2003 to 2007, and from 1990-1991 he flew missions in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf region. He has flown into dozens of nations around the world on nearly every continent, worked with all U.S. military services, and with many of our allies.

Chief Perry's most recent real-world mission was to Texas this past Sunday, Sept. 14, 2008 on a Hurricane Ike relief mission. Chief Perry also flew missions in 2005 to the Gulf Coast for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita relief missions.
"Wherever we fly there is usually some Airman at every air base who knows Chief Perry," said Col. Jonathan Groff, wing commander, 166th Airlift Wing. "And our members also hear from many people in the local community who know Mike."

Chief Perry's son, Mike Perry, Jr., is a former member of the Delaware Air National Guard's 142nd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, and still serves in the military in a sister Air National Guard unit based in Oregon.

This release is in the public domain, and any part may be used as written.

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