Jon Gregory is retiring after flying military aircraft for more than 52 years. He says his best memory is that the number of landings exactly equaled the number of takeoffs.
Gregory, from Arbutus, Maryland, is the chief of aviation and the standardization instructor pilot for the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Analytical Remediation Activity (CARA) at the 20th CBRNE Command. His last touchdown at Phillips Army Airfield was Friday, July 24, as he piloted the C-12J2 and brought back Brig. Gen. Antonio Munera following his first operational visit to the 52nd Ordnance Group (EOD) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
“My first flight in an airplane was at age 6 and my first formal lesson was at age 12 from Lee airfield in Annapolis,” he said. With more than 18,000 hours in the air, Gregory has flown all over the world including the Western Hemisphere, Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia with service during the Vietnam War. He retired from the Army as a warrant officer, and is qualified to fly numerous fixed wing aircraft and helicopters.
He is completing 27 years of federal service with CARA, “a fantastic organization with truly unique capabilities and skill sets,” according to Gregory. The team at CARA has a mission to recover, transport, conduct emergency response, escort, and remediate chemical warfare material globally with four expeditionary forensic laboratories and four remediation response teams.
“Jon is one of the few original employees that have been with the 20th CBRNE Command since its activation in 2005” said Franz Amann, CARA director. “He will be sorely missed as part of the CARA family, his experience and knowledge is unmatched. But as any good leader, he has trained his team to continue to carry on with its mission without missing a beat.”
“It was my honor to fly with Jon on his final flight as he brought us home,” said Munera. “I deeply appreciate the aviation excellence he has provided for CARA, and Army aviation, for many years.”
Looking forward to retirement, he expects to spend a lot of time with his wife of 52 years, Linda, their two children, JR and Nicole, plus grandson Gavin nicknamed “scoot.” He said he expects to do some flying but mostly “making she who must be obeyed happy!”