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Air Force veterans get another chance to take to the skies in Pittsburgh

| Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, 12:06 a.m.
Colonel Daryl Hartman, commander of the 911th Operations Group hugs his mother, Lois Hartman of Kilbuck after Hartman's last flight marking the successful completion of 34 years of service to the Air Force at the 911th airlift wing, Friday, October 26, 2012. Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Colonel Daryl Hartman, commander of the 911th Operations Group gets drenched in champagne by Captain Tina Hannasch (left) after Hartman's last flight marking the successful completion of 34 years of service to the Air Force at the 911th airlift wing, Friday, October 26, 2012. Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Colonel Daryl Hartman, commander of the 911th Operations Group gets the traditional drenching by a fire hose after Hartman's last flight marking the successful completion of 34 years of service to the Air Force at the 911th airlift wing, Friday, October 26, 2012. Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Colonel Daryl Hartman, commander of the 911th Operations Group hugs his oldest daughter, Erin Fodi of Bellevue after Hartman's last flight marking the successful completion of 34 years of service to the Air Force at the 911th airlift wing, Friday, October 26, 2012. Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review

Two Air Force veterans who flew together almost 30 years ago took to the skies over Pittsburgh on Friday.

But Col. Daryl J. Hartman, 911th Operations Group commander, didn't get a chance to show his teacher, Col. Leslie R. Anzjon, anything new.

“When you've been around the block as much as we have, it's kind of hard to find something new,” said Hartman, who touched down at Pittsburgh International Airport for the last time, marking the end of a 34-year Air Force career.

After landing, Hartman, 55, of Kilbuck brought the C-130 between two fire trucks that gave it the traditional dousing signifying a final flight. Hartman's wife Peggy then gave him the same treatment with the fire hose, while others sprinkled him with champagne. The revelry was markedly different than the ceremonial flight, which started and finished at the airport

“It was a quiet flight,” he said. “No one wanted to talk, and I didn't know what to say.”

Hartman served most of his career with the 911th Airlift Wing in Moon and the 910th Airlift Wing in Youngstown. A command pilot with more than 7,500 flight hours, he saw combat in southwest Asia and the Balkans.

Things won't be the same without the guitar player, blogger and home remodeler, said his colleagues.

“A lot of people are going to miss him,” said Tech Sgt. Jamie Perry, who worked with Hartman for eight years.

As commander, Hartman was the senior officer responsible for a unit of eight C-130s, an aeromedical evacuation squadron and a support flight. He married his high school sweetheart 33 years ago but said he “found heaven in a C-130.”

Anzjon, the 911th Operations Group commander from 1998 to 2004 and Hartman's instructor on his first C-130B flight, was his co-pilot Friday.

Anzjon is director of safety at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Ga., where he is responsible for developing and implementing programs for flight, ground and weapons safety.

He slipped away without speaking when the plane landed.

The 911th includes approximately 1,220 Air Force Reserve members and employs about 320 civilians. More than 180 air reserve technicians hold dual civilian and military positions.

Hartman's immediate plans are to do more “family stuff,” play guitar with his Celtic band, “Carnival of Souls,” and remodel a half-dozen kitchens for friends and his mom, who is first on the list.

“I told them I'd do the work if they bought the materials,” he said.

Craig Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5646 or csmith@tribweb.com.

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