Leave it to a bunch of young fighter pilots to find an unusual way to give their commander a rousing send-off.
After more than 17 years in Tulsa, Colonel David Burgy is leaving the 138th Fighter Wing. He will be taking a position at the Oklahoma Joint Force Headquarters staff in Oklahoma City at the end of the year.
That means his time flying F-16s is over. As per U.S. military tradition his family and fellow pilots organized a ceremony to honor his last trip, called a fini flight.
On Saturday, September 12, 2015, Col. Burgy, took his last flight in an F-16. He and three other senior pilots from the 138th took off from Tulsa, flew out to western Oklahoma and then circled back over the state capitol before landing at Tulsa International Airport.
"It was a blast. I flew with three of my best friends I've flown with for more than 15 years out there. Got up really high, got up really fast, got upside down," said Burgy, whose call sign is Cheese.
In his civilian career Col. Burgy is a first officer on 747s. He said he's completing a 4-year military leave of absence from United Airlines. Burgy has more than 5,000 hours flying commercial jets and another 3,300 hours in military aircraft. As much as he loved his last F-16 flight, it was bittersweet.
"After 27 years of flying in the military it's an emotional event," Col. Burgy said.
When his flight landed Saturday afternoon, he was sprayed with a fire hose and showered with champagne by his fellow pilots and family, as is tradition for fighter pilots moving to a new assignment. But the ceremony then took a funny turn, thanks to some of the young lieutenants Col. Burgy has been commanding.
"They're young fighter pilots, so they're aggressive individuals, so they tackled their commander and strapped me - duct taped me - to the missile pylon underneath the wing of the aircraft I had just landed, and then shook my hand."
Many other members of the 138th Fighter Wing joined the young pilots to shake Col. Burgy's hand. He enjoyed the gesture, but he had a warning for the young pilots: "It's a one-time deal for their commander, by the way, in case they have any ideas of doing it again," he said with a grin.