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Minnesota National Guard
Chief Arne's last flight marks passing of an era

A pilot's last flight is always significant, but for the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) the loss of Chief Warrant Officer 5 Gary Arne is especially poignant This flight, and Arne's subsequent retirement, marks the end of an era of aviation in Minnesota  The 34th CAB has benefited greatly from the wealth of experience provided by Arne, the last Vietnam combat pilot in the Minnesota Army National Guard "It's an entire era that's going away This is it The new era is taking over and they're in good hands" reflected Arne referring to the younger combat pilots with experience flying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom
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Arriving at Holman Field, Arne's Black Hawk helicopter was met by a truck from the St Paul's fire department which sprayed a jet of water above the UH-60 as it taxied down the flightline April 23 Another short spray of water did not dampen Arne's spirits as he walked to the crowd of family and friends gathered at the hangar  "It felt good when I finally set it down the last time, it really did, and taxiing underneath the fire hose was pretty cool You kinda feel sad about leaving, but when you're sent off with a celebration like that you feel like you were really appreciated"

Arne, a UH60 Black Hawk pilot, was a Standardization Instructor Pilot and later the Tactical Operations Officer for the 34th CAB He served over 40 years including multiple tours in Vietnam and Iraq

This is not the end of flying for Mr Arne, a native of Cannon Falls, Minn He plans to build a house in Florida and work as a civilian instructor pilot at Ft Rucker, Ala

Arne and his wife Lisa may be seen in Minnesota this winter "We didn't make the ball last year and I promised my wife we could go next year, so I guess I have no choice" he joked

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Chief Warrant Officer Daniel Jacobs will be stepping in as the 34th CAB Tactical Operations Officer  "Dan is more than capable"said Arne "He is qualified in both the Chinook and the Black Hawk"

Arne's most significant awards and citations include the Master Army Aviator Badge, 2 Silver Stars, Legion of Merit, 2 Bronze Stars, Air Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Vietnam and Iraq Service Medals, and the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with 30 year device

By Sgt 1st Class Daniel Ewer
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs
23 April, 2010

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