HomeNewsArticle Display

'Gray Eagle' awards presented to longest-serving pilots

WASHINGTON -- Just minutes after airmen deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom began the highly anticipated "shock and awe" attack on Baghdad on March 21, Air Force leaders paused to pay tribute to two of the service's longest-serving pilots.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard B. Myers and Maj. Gen. John J. Batbie, Jr., vice commander of Air Force Reserve Command, were presented trophies in recognition of their status as the pilots with the longest period of continuous aviation service. Myers' trophy recognizes active duty service, while Batbie's represents service in the air reserve components.

"On this solemn day, I can think of no one who carries the torch of aviation experience around with him better than Gen. Richard Myers," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper during the trophy presentation.

"I remember my first flight in the ROTC flight program," Myers said. "I remember the feeling I had the first time we broke ground. I looked down and said, 'I don't know if this has any military utility, but it sure is fun!'

"That fun and challenge kept going for a long time, but somewhere in our careers the flying part gives way to the real reasons we like the Air Force," he said. "The reason I'm still wearing this uniform, coming up on 38 years, is because I like hanging around people who wear this uniform and being associated with the world's greatest Air Force."

Myers has "owned" the Gray Eagle Award since 1999.

This is the first Gray Eagle Award for Batbie, whose aviation career began as an Army helicopter pilot in 1969. He became an Air Force Reserve pilot in 1972.

"This finishes a complete cycle for me," he said. "I remember when I was an armor officer in Korea, responsible for training. We'd get F-4 Phantoms to fly up and down the valley so our Army kids could track them. That's when I said I wanted to be an Air Force pilot.

"It kind of never really felt like I'd made the complete transition until now," he said. "Now, after 30-plus years, I think I'm there."

Engage

Twitter
RT @USAFCENT: USAFCENT Airmen and coalition partners are executing missions of national, regional and global importance and Exercise Desert…
Twitter
In March 2019, @AFSpecOpsCmd received its first Block 30 AC-130J Ghostrider gunship. Referred to as “the ultimate b… https://t.co/V9FoDThYRQ
Twitter
As the Joint Force transitioned from a Continuous Bomber Presence posture in the Indo-Pacific theater to a Dynamic… https://t.co/u8JlA3GaeF
Twitter
As of August 2020, The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, aka Hurricane Hunters, has flown 64 missions into 12 s… https://t.co/CFtHJ8HDXG
Twitter
.@AFGlobalStrike tackled B-1B readiness issues head-on by readying the fleet with a roadmap to recovery over a 2-yr… https://t.co/dEfZemGKbb
Twitter
As we celebrate 73 years of the U.S. Air Force, we remember the heroes we are proud to have served with. Today we… https://t.co/3pdHX3DvIn
Twitter
Flying, fighting and winning since 1947. #USAF73 https://t.co/qM28ykPZwt
Twitter
RT @AF_Academy: Proud to fly the @usairforce flag today and every day! Happy 73rd Birthday! #YourAcademy #FamilyWeek https://t.co/hOIs1ghq7M
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Today we honor the #heroes who knew the worst of war and the agony of captivity - those who fought for and lost their fre…
Twitter
RT @ArmyMateriel: Join us in wishing a Happy Birthday to our brothers and sisters in the United States Air Force! #DYK The Air Force was…
Twitter
RT @JBABdc: Happy 73rd birthday, @usairforce! The USAF Band and Honor Guard were thrilled to help kick off the celebration on Fox & Friends…
Twitter
RT @AFSAHQ: Happy Birthday to the world's greatest @UsAirForce ! 73 years of excellence, service and sacrifice. Thank you to all the #Air
Twitter
RT @97AMW: Happy 73rd birthday @usairforce! As we celebrate today, we honor the heroism of our Airmen, past and present, who have been the…
Twitter
RT @53rdWRS: Special birthday shoutout to @usairforce! 73 never looked so good! What better way to celebrate than by flying another missio…
Twitter
RT @HollomanAFB: #happybirthday Birthday @usairforce ✈️🇺🇸🎊🎉 Happy Friday! We made it! #F16Friday #combatairpower https://t.co/EedHtI62sn
Twitter
RT @AirNatlGuard: Today, we celebrate 7️⃣3️⃣ years as the world's leading source of #airpower✈️ Fly, Fight, Win! #USAF73 #AFBDay https://t.…
Twitter
RT @156WingPRANG: From all the PRANG Airmen, Happy 73rd Birthday @usairforce. Fly, Fight, Win! #AimHigh #USAF #PRANG #theGreatest #Wingmen
Twitter
RT @WarriorCare: To our heroes in the sky✈️, we want to wish you a Happy Birthday 🎂 https://t.co/OvGEBUOKNO
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,279,576
Follow Us