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Longtime Air Force pilot Hagar hangs it up after 28 years of service

Col. James "Marty" Hagar celebrates the occasion of his retirement from the Tennessee Air National Guard at Berry Field Tennessee Air National Guard Base in Nashville, Tenn. on Nov. 2, 2019.

Col. James "Marty" Hagar celebrates the occasion of his retirement from the Tennessee Air National Guard at Berry Field Tennessee Air National Guard Base in Nashville, Tenn. on Nov. 2, 2019. Hagar served more than 28 years in the military and retired as the vice commander of the 118th Wing. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Darrell Hamm)

Nashville, Tenn. --

The colonel is ready to take up fishing again.

U.S. Air Force Col. James “Marty” Hagar, the vice commander of the 118th Wing, Tennessee Air National Guard, officially retired from the military during a ceremony Nov. 2, 2019 at Berry Field Air National Guard Base, Nashville, Tennessee.

Hagar served in the Air Force for over 28 years, 24 of which were at Berry Field. He gained over 4,600 flying hours as a command pilot, including 350 combat hours, in six different types of aircraft. He also served in numerous overseas missions, including operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

After so many years of faithful service though, Hagar is ready to pick up a few leisurely activities he hasn’t done in a long time.

“I bought a fishing pole, and my wife said you don't fish,” said Hagar. “I said I used to, and she said you did!”

While Hagar is looking forward to being able to relax, there are many things he is going to miss about the military, and serving at Berry Field.

“This place is like a second family. I know a lot about people's lives out here,” said Hagar. “I've been doing it for 28 years, more than half my life.”

Hagar was promoted to vice wing commander in 2014, but said his favorite role while stationed at Berry Field was another leadership position.

“Out here, the greatest thing was being a squadron commander in operations,” said Hagar. “That's the best job in the Air Force, being a squadron commander in a flying unit.”

Hagar said as a squadron commander, he got to know the lives of the people in his unit very well, a trait that was acknowledged throughout the 118th WG.

“Col. Hagar has always cared about Airmen,” said Col. Keith Allbritten, the 118th WG commander during Hagar’s tenure as vice commander. “He is always concerned about taking care of Airmen, and always looking out for Airmen.”

His compassion and caring for fellow Airmen under his command is one of the things Hagar wants those at the 118th WG to remember him for.

“I always said if you treat everyone the way you want your kid sister treated, I'm not going to have any problems with you,” said Hagar. “I wanted everyone who came out here to be treated fairly, with respect, and equally.”

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