Flynn concludes 28 years of service to Air Force, Air National Guard

  • Published
  • By Dale Greer
  • 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Col. David Flynn retired from the Kentucky Air National Guard during a ceremony at the 123rd Airlift Wing here May 20, concluding a distinguished career that spanned more than 28 years.

Flynn, director of air operations at Joint Force Headquarters—Kentucky, was hailed as a dedicated Airman and exceptional leader.

“As director of air operations during the 2021 Western Kentucky tornado outbreak, and then again in 2022 during the significant flooding in Eastern Kentucky, he helped coordinate responses that saved multiple lives and mitigated suffering for our fellow Kentuckians,” said Brig. Gen. David Mounkes, assistant adjutant general for Air, who officiated the ceremony.

“He made us better, and I think that’s the definition of success in any organization.”

Mounkes also praised Flynn’s airmanship, calling him a “fearless pilot and a very successful squadron commander.” The command pilot logged more than 5,500 flight hours in multiple variants of the C-130 Hercules during numerous overseas deployments, including nine tours in Afghanistan.

“I flew with Dave, and I don’t think I ever saw him get rattled,” said Mounkes, who presented Flynn with the Legion of Merit and the Kentucky Distinguished Service Medal. “I really thought he had ice in his veins.”

Flynn entered the active-duty Air Force in 1994 as an acquisitions officer after graduating from the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Louisville. He served for two years at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, in the C-130 System Program Office before being selected for undergraduate pilot training. He has since flown as an instructor/evaluator pilot in the C-130E, H and J.

In 2006, Flynn separated from active duty and joined the Air National Guard, serving for one year in West Virginia before transferring to Kentucky’s 123rd Airlift Wing in 2007. As a Kentucky Guardsman, Flynn served in the roles of flight commander, chief of Standards and Evaluation, and commander of the 165th Airlift Squadron. His career includes deployments in support of Operations Southern Watch, Joint Forge, Coronet Oak, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and Freedom’s Sentinel.

Flynn thanked his coworkers, friends and family for their support through the years, taking note of two grandfathers who served as personal role models. One was a B-24 gunner who flew more than 30 combat missions into Germany during World War II; and the other was a Marine Corps infantryman during World War I and a recruiter in World War II.

“When I look out in the room today, I see a lot of professional military men and women, but more importantly, I see a lot of friends,” Flynn said, addressing the audience. “That's what makes the Guard great. I truly believe it's the best work environment anyone can ask for. It has been an honor to be a part of this group.”

Flynn praised many units on base, including the Domestic Operations Team at Joint Force Headquarters, for making a difference in the lives of Kentuckians during times of natural disaster.

“In terms of emergency response within the Commonwealth of Kentucky, your efforts are paying off and will continue to pay off in the future for immediate response to save lives,” he said.

Flynn also thanked the Airmen of the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron for their life-saving efforts in the wake of historic flooding last year; the 123rd Contingency Response Group for their unsurpassed ability to deploy on short notice and stand up air operations in austere environments regardless of the need; and the 123rd Operations Group, where he spent the majority of his Guard career.

“I can honestly say the biggest privilege of my profession has been to train and deploy with you all,” he said. “You're the best. That fact has been proven over and over.

“I'm overcome with a sense of gratitude to all of you. It has been an honor to serve this unit and serve this country.”