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Gen. Carlisle logs final flight

  • Published
  • By By Airman 1st Class Derek Seifert
  • HQ Air Combat Command Public Affairs

Air Combat Command’s most recent Order of the Sword recipient donned his G-suit and stepped to the flightline as an active-duty fighter pilot one last time.

U.S. Air Force Gen. Herbert J. "Hawk" Carlisle, commander of Air Combat Command, flew his final flight aboard an F-15C Strike Eagle, March 9, 2017.

“You never know how great it is to fly an airplane until you don’t do it for a while and then do it again,” Carlisle said.

Officially known throughout the Air Force today as the “fini-flight,” historians claim the tradition originally bloomed during the World War II era in the days of the U.S. Army Air Corps, when pilots returned from their final combat mission. Today, the ritual usually takes place either before the pilot changes station or before an aviator retires.

Carlisle’s fini-flight culminates more than 39 years of service to the U.S. Air Force and his country.

For decades, it has been customary for the pilot to be drenched in water and champagne upon landing. Carlisle was soaked by a fire hose and champagne by his wife Gillian, his mother Helen, daughter Summer Murshid and other family members. His grandson Blaise “Hawk Jr.” Murshid also attended to watch.

Carlisle has logged more than 3,600 flight hours in numerous air frames throughout his career.

Looking back on his career and flying days, Carlisle said, “The fact that I got to do this for 39 years is beyond belief. I wouldn’t change a thing in the world and I love these guys.”

After three and a half decades, 23 assignments and multiple deployments, the fini-flight was a bitter sweet moment for the general.

Carlisle’s retirement ceremony is March 10, 2017 and he officially retires May 1, 2017.