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Air Force Tradition: A Final Flight Drenching

Bobbie O'Brien

At times, being a reporter can be fun, especially when you get to cover life-changing events like the final flight of an Air Force pilot.

Someday I'll know what it's like to leave behind a profession that I'm passionate about and have invested much of my life to. That's what Col. Scott DeThomas is preparing to do as commander of the 6th Air Mobility Wing and MacDill Air Force Base.

After 32 years in the military, 23 of them as an Air Force pilot, DeThomas is retiring.

He was at the controls of a KC-135 Stratotanker, an aging refueling tanker, for his final flight which DeThomas said was appropriate.

It's a bittersweet moment one last time in the pilot's seat, DeThomas called it "surreal."

But there were plenty of friends, family and staff to help him through it along with the time-honored tradition of drenching a pilot after the final flight.


The drenching started with two fire trucks as DeThomas taxied the tanker to it's final resting spot.


DeThomas is scheduled to retire in August. He and his family, wife Marta, son Brad,17, and dautghter Anna, 8, plan to remain in the Tampa Bay community.

Bobbie O’Brien has been a Reporter/Producer at WUSF since 1991. She reports on general news topics in Florida and the Tampa Bay region.
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