March 28, 2013 (by SSgt. Sara Csurilla) - Col. Patrick McKenzie, 51st Fighter Wing commander, joined a small elite group of pilots by reaching 3,000 hours in an F-16 Fighting Falcon at Osan, March 28, 2013.
Col. Patrick McKenzie, 51st FW commander, prepares to exit his F-16 after reaching 3,000 flying hours at Osan AB on March 28th, 2013. [USAF photo by SSgt. Sara Csurilla]
"I feel very lucky to have been able to reach this feat," said McKenzie. "This is a rare accomplishment for any fighter pilot, I have been blessed to fly the F-16 long enough to reach the mark."
McKenzie started his career as a pilot by attending Undergraduate Pilot Training at Reese Air Force Base, Texas, in March of 1989. From there he was sent to Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., and began his career as an F-16 pilot in August of 1990.
He has flown the F-16 at Moody AFB
, Osan AB, Aviano AB, Luke AFB, AZ, and he was the 455th Expeditionary Operations Group Commander at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan before commanding the 51st Fighter Wing at Osan.
"While I get to personally reach the milestone, it is not something that I accomplished myself. Many others to include maintainers, support personnel, and fellow fighter pilots have all made this milestone attainable."
A little under 250 F-16 pilots worldwide are documented as sharing this 3,000-hour achievement.