Wisconsin National Guard pilot retires, son joins final flight

After 39 years, a Wisconsin National Guard pilot made his final flight into retirement on Thursday, Aug. 3 and had a special guest in the cockpit.

Bill Richey is leading the unit on one last mission.

"I joined January 24 of '84," said Richey. "I knew I'd go as long as I could."

The new mission? Retirement.

Bill Richey

"I never took this job for granted, Richey said. "It's been an honor and a blessing."

Richey made his final taxi as a Wisconsin National Guard pilot after 39 years.

"We flew back together from Fort McCoy today, so that was emotional," said Richey.

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Retirement flights aren't new for the national guard, but this one was different.

"My son a pilot; he graduated flight school last November," Richey said.

Not just any pilot.

"We are the first and only father/son pilot team in Wisconsin history," said Richey.

27-year-old Bryce Richey followed in his dad's footsteps serving in the Wisconsin National Guard as a Black Hawk pilot.

Bryce and Bill Richey

"We've had probably a dozen or so flights together," said Bill.

Thursday, Aug. 3, marks their last flight.

"Thanks for everything you've taught me… not only as my dad but my partner," said Bryce.

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"I was good until we landed out in the Helipad, and from there on in, he had to almost take it; it was hard," said Bill. "But, what a journey."

Now it's time for Bill's journey to begin.

"I am going to start driving for the Disabled American Veterans," said Bill. "Being able to do that and give back has been really rewarding."