An Honored Flyer Tells Of His Service To America (Part 3 of 4)
OK... we gotta tell you... this one was one of the best speeches we have EVER heard at any aviation event... and it occurred this year at the 2012 AEA Convention and Tradeshow. The kind folks of Universal Avionics pulled off quite a coup and arranged for a truly inspiring speaker for one of the most important gatherings in all of aviation -- the opening ceremonies of the 55th Annual AEA International Convention and Trade Show. And Universal's choice knocked it out of the park. Former Air Force One Command Pilot Colonel (ret) Mark W. Tillman, the United States’ 12th Presidential Pilot, served as Commander of Air Force One from 2001-2009.
Col. Tillman was at the controls of Air Force One on September 11, 2001, keeping President Bush out of harm’s way and connecting the flying oval office to the nation’s first responders. He was also the first pilot to fly the Commander-in-Chief into a war zone. The challenge was unprecedented – it was a “Zero Fail Mission”.
A truly amazing aviator, in 2004 Tillman was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was also promoted to brigadier general by the President of the United States -- the first military line officer to receive this honor (not confirmed by the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee). One of his more extraordinary adventures took place as he became the first pilot to fly the commander in chief into Baghdad. The challenge was unprecedented -- safely transport the most targeted man in the world into the heart of terrorism. One mistake would have left the president vulnerable to attack and would have cost the lives of U.S. service members. Tillman personally orchestrated and executed this covert operation with flawless success. His planning, done entirely in secrecy, allowed for a complete surprise to the world.
Please join ANN in this four part tribute and presentation of Col. Tillman's exciting speech at the 55th Annual AEA International Convention and Trade Show.