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Generals return, complete last flight

Brig. Gen. Wade Farris, 439th Airlift Wing commander, steps down from a Westover C-5 June 4 following his four-month deployment to a Southwest Asia location in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech Sgt. Andrew Biscoe)

Brig. Gen. Wade Farris, 439th Airlift Wing commander, steps down from a Westover C-5 June 4 following his four-month deployment to a Southwest Asia location in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech Sgt. Andrew Biscoe)

Maj. Gen. Martin Mazick, 22nd Air Force commander, walks on to the flight line to shake hands at Westover Air Reserve Base following his last training flight on a C-5 June 3. (U.S. Air Force photo/MSgt. W.C. Pope)

Maj. Gen. Martin Mazick, 22nd Air Force commander, walks on to the flight line to shake hands at Westover Air Reserve Base following his last training flight on a C-5 June 3. (U.S. Air Force photo/MSgt. W.C. Pope)

WESTOVER AIR RESERVE BASE, Mass. -- Two flag-ranked officers piloted C-5s into history at Westover in June.

Brig. Gen. Wade Farris, 439th Airlift Wing commander, returned June 4 from his four-month deployment to Southwest Asia, while Maj. Gen. Martin M. Mazick, 22nd Air Force commander, flew his final training mission on a C-5 June 3.

General Farris was deployed as the deputy director for mobility forces at the Combined Air Operations Center at the base. He was also promoted to flag officer rank March 30, and is the eighth wing commander from Westover to have pinned on brigadier general.

The commander taxied to the parking area in front of the Base Hangar, where a large crowd of wing reservists were waiting. His wife, Kim, and General Mazick, also stood waiting.

As the last whine of the C-5’s engines faded into a light breeze, General Farris climbed down the stairway from the flight deck, dressed in his desert flight suit uniform. As he stepped onto American soil for the first time since leaving in January, he hugged his wife, and then shook hands with General Mazick.

General Farris then walked toward the crowd of reservists and shook more. He returned to the C-5 to assist the aircrew with unloading luggage.

Just two days before the wing commander’s return, General Mazick flew his final C-5 training flight. Under overcast skies and a persistent rain, the general’s “fini flight” ended with the traditional hosing down after he stepped onto the flight line.

General Mazick was the 439th AW commander from March 1999 to August 2003. In the spring of 2003, more than 1,000 reservists were activated at Westover for Operation Iraqi Freedom. More than 2,000 C-5 flights came through the base from February of July of that year. General Mazick was promoted to major general in December 2005, and assumed command of 22nd Air Force in March 2006.