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145th Airlift Wing's Veteran brothers, take to the skies for their final flight

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran
  • 145th Public Affairs
In a tradition nearly as old as military aviation itself, North Carolina Air National Guard's, Vice-Wing Commander, Col. Quincy "Newt" Huneycutt, III, and brother, Chief Master Sgt. Andrew "Andy" Huneycutt, celebrated over 36 years (72 combined), of dedicated military service when they took their final "fini-flight" onboard a transport aircraft, Dec. 21, 2015.

After landing at the North Carolina Air National Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, the 145th Airlift Wing's, C-130 Hercules aircraft made its way beneath an arc of water sprayed from two fire trucks as it taxied to its parking spot. Family, friends and fellow Airmen came out to greet navigator, Col. Huneycutt and loadmaster, Chief Huneycutt, as they stepped off the aircraft onto the tarmac for the last time. Carrying on the tradition, all watched as Colonel and Chief were doused with cold champagne and even colder water.

The Huneycutt's enlisted in the N.C. Air National Guard together on January 12, 1980.

"Our dad was in the Air Guard years ago so he brought my brother and me out to talk with the recruiters. I don't think joining the guard was a decision made by either of us, I think it was destiny," said Chief Huneycutt.

Chief Huneycutt's career has taken him from airman basic to achieving the highest enlisted rank in the Air Force of chief master sergeant. He has logged over 13,200 hours of flying time; included in this total is 674 hours of combat flying time and 452 combat sorties.

Throughout the years the brothers have shared a lot, from laughing at inflight jokes to facing many challenges as "Brothers in Arms" while deployed together, serving in austere locations.

"We've flown together as loadmasters and later as loadmaster/navigator. We've been able to travel the world together and experience a life that can only be described as magical," Chief Huneycutt stated.

Over the years Col. Huneycutt has chalked up more than 5,357 flying hours, 297 sorties as a loadmaster and 2,416 sorties as a master navigator. He's deployed many times, serving in support of Joint Endeavor, Shining Hope, Uphold Democracy, and several rotations to Panama in support of Volant Oak. He has gone from the enlisted rank of airman basic to the rank of "Full Bird" colonel, assuming the position of Vice-Wing commander in 2013.

In the past 36 years the brothers have seen many changes. They've watched as the Wing grew and prospered. They've see camaraderie and lifelong friendships develop. They've seen challenges met and obstacles overcome, but the most significant memory of all was the support given from all around the country, when the worst tragedy in the history of the 145th Airlift Wing's, Modular Airborne Fire Fighting (MAFFS) mission occurred.

"The support I received from my family, the Guard family, and my military brothers and sisters across this great nation was humbling," Chief Huneycutt emotionally imparted, "Getting back in the C-130, well, that was the easy part. Just like putting on your favorite pair of blue jeans and going to see an old friend you haven't seen in a very long time."

Col. Huneycutt, bidding farewell, recalled his favorite quote by Leonardo da Vinci, "For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return."

"He must have known what he was talking about," Col. Huneycutt humbly expressed, "So on December 21st, two old warriors who have been gazing skyward for 36 years got to return there one last time, together, and it was glorious!"