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Local Airman Logs New Record at Barksale Air Force Base

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Jason Smith, Getty Images for NASCAR

One Ark-La-Tex navigator just passed a B-52 milestone that no one else has.

His name is Lt. Col. Steve “Thirsty” Smith. The rank would indicate a long time spent in the Air Force, the call sign could just as easily describe his desire to be in a B-52. According to The News Star in Monroe, Louisiana, Steve just passed 10,000 flying hours in a B-52.

He’s the only serving member in the Air Force to do so.

That 10,000 flight hours is the result of serving as a navigator at Barksdale Air Force Base through 42 missions and four wars. Steve was honored by the 93d Bomb Squadron on base Friday, March 3. In attendance was 4th District Congressman Mike Johnson, and commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, Gen. Robin Rand.

He was presented with an American Flag that had been flown above the Capitol.

Steve graduated from the ROTC program at Ole Miss before graduating from navigation school at Mather Air Force Base in 1985. It was there that he was assigned his aircraft, the B-52. He is a decorated navigator, awarded the Air Medal in 1991 and the Aerial Achievement Medal in 2002, who spent seven years in active duty before joining the reserves more than 20 years ago.

On his resume are 1,819 sorties with 496 combat hours. Steve also has more than 42 combat sorties from combined service in Operation Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and most recently, Operation Inherent Resolve. And he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down.

Congratulations, Thirsty!

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