Aviator with 40 years military service flies final flight

Chief Warrant Officer 5 Timothy C. Meeks takes the final flight of his military career in a C-12 Huron aircraft Nov. 19, 2015, at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Sandston, Va. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Terra C. Gatti, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs )

Chief Warrant Officer 5 Timothy C. Meeks takes the final flight of his military career in a C-12 Huron aircraft Nov. 19, 2015, at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Sandston, Va. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Terra C. Gatti, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs )

SANDSTON, Va. – After 40 years of military service, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Timothy C. Meeks, commander of the Sandston-based Detachment 26, Operational Support Airlift Command, flew the final flight of his military career Nov. 19, 2015, aboard a C-12 Huron aircraft.

Meeks’ final flight originated in Columbus, Ind., near Camp Atterbury where Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, was visiting Soldiers from the Fort Belvoir-based 29th Infantry Division during their Warfighter Exercise. From there, Meeks flew the Adjutant General back to the Army Aviation Support Facility, located adjacent to the Richmond International Airport.

Meeks retires with more than 30 years of aviation service and 40 years of total military service. Over the decades, Meeks has earned nearly 15,000 total flight hours, split between rotary and fixed wing aircraft, including more than 2,000 hours of combat flight time and nearly 200 hours of imminent danger flight time. During his career, Meeks flew a variety of airframes, including the OH-6A Cayuse helicopter, UH-1H and UH-1V Huey helicopter, OH-58 Kiowa helicopter, UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter and various versions of the C-12.

The mission of Detachment 26 is to provide air movement of high priority passengers and cargo with time, place or mission-sensitive requirements in support of federal and state requirements, according to Col. James Ring, former commander of the Fort Belvoir-based Operation Support Airlift Agency and incoming Virginia Army National Guard chief of staff. Ring was also aboard the aircraft during Meeks’ final flight.

“The Virginia Army National Guard’s C-12 detachment and its personnel are among the most frequently deployed Army National Guard service members,” Ring said, adding that they’ve served in Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa, South America and other location across the world.

According to Ring, the Army National Guard sustains approximately 20-30 percent of its Operational Support Airlift force globally deployed supporting Department of the Defense missions and requirements. When not deployed, these units provide more than 50 percent of the joint operational support airlift for travelers within the Department of Defense in the United States and her territories. While deployed, the units, like Detachment 26, support air movement in theater of key personnel and cargo, according to Ring.

At the airport, as Meeks piloted the C-12 toward the hanger, he was greeted by two fire trucks spraying an arch of water and a crowd of his fellow Soldiers, both currently serving and retired.