Magazine article Soldiers Magazine

Aviator Calls It a Day

Magazine article Soldiers Magazine

Aviator Calls It a Day

Article excerpt

WHEN CW5 Sargeant B. Means stepped out of his Cessna at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., resplendent in his Class B uniform, waiting friends and comrades doused him with water from a fire hose. Soaked to the skin, Means looked up and smiled.

"This is how we greet aviators returning from their last flights," said CW5 Mark Marinelli, the maintenance officer at the U.S. Army Priority Air Transportation unit at Andrews AFB.

After 39 years in the Army, Means was calling it a day. He joined the Army as a commissioned officer in 1966 and did his first tour of duty as an infantry officer with the 82nd Airborne Division. After graduating from flight school in 1968 he spent a year and a half in Vietnam, where he was a forward air controller, drawing enemy fire to mark positions for the artillery and bombers to clear. In 1980

Means switched to the warrant-officer corps.

He has logged equal time in both rotary--and fixed-wing aircraft, but enjoys flying helicopters more.

"You can get real close to the action in a helicopter, and I never got tired of flying over the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Washington, D.C., and seeing the traffic action below," he said. His last tour of duty was with USAPAT.

Means said that his Vietnam days were the most memorable of his career.

"What stands out about the Vietnam experience is the camaraderie and bonding of the people I served with," he said. "To this day we still keep in touch."

In the past 40 years he has seen many changes. …

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