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Home : News : News Features
NEWS | Feb. 2, 2016

Senior aviator in Utah takes final AH-64 Apache helicopter flight

By Utah National Guard

DRAPER, Utah - The final AH-64 Apache helicopter flight for a Utah National Guard Army aviator who is recognized as the senior Apache aviator in the world to achieve more than 10,000 flying hours in the Apache was held Jan. 29 at the West Jordan Army Aviation Support Facility.

Chief Warrant Officer 5 Ken Jones, 1st Battalion, 211th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, has been serving as an Apache standardization instructor pilot and will soon be retiring from the National Guard after serving for more than 35 years in the military.

Jones'expertise and professionalism is contagious and multi-generational, as his son, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jared Jones also serves in the Utah National Guard as an Army aviator and joined him as a co-pilot during the one-hour flight.

"The continuity that the National Guard has provided me for the last 23 years has allowed me to develop an outstanding AH-64 Apache combat-flying program, which has also allowed me to fly more than 10,000 flight hours in the AH-64," said Jones. "I have enjoyed every minute being in the Apache and the Utah Army National Guard. It has been a truly great opportunity and honor for me to serve my country in this capacity."

Jones has served in four combat tours in the Middle East with 2,270 combat-flight hours. One of these missions involved a night landing in the rugged mountains of Afghanistan to fly numerous special-operations personnel to safety. He has served with the Utah National Guard since 1992, following 12 years of service with the active component.

The vast experience and knowledge of Jones was also used as he briefed the National Committee on the Future of the Army members during its evaluation of the Army Aviation Restructuring Initiative which, if unchanged, will reallocate all Apache helicopters to the active component of the Army. His final flight will occur within days of the release of the finding of the commission's report.

"Chief Jones is a valued member of our organization who has demonstrated his patriotism and dedication every day during his more than 35 years of service," said Maj. Gen. Jeff Burton, adjutant general of the Utah National Guard. "Men and women like this are the invaluable assets to our nation's defense that will be squandered should the Army Restructuring Initiative take the Apaches from the Guard's formations."