The Last Salute

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Annette Kornasiewicz
  • Public Affairs
Not many of us in the service today can say we were in the military during the Persian Gulf War in 1991. But how many of us can say we served our country during the Vietnam War? The 180th Fighter Wing has two less servicemembers who could boast such longevity. Master Sgt. Robert Carrisalez, Ground Radio Maintenance Craftsman for
Communication Flight, and Master Sgt. Robert R. Cook, Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of Weapons Release, retired in June, 2008. 

Carrisalez entered the active duty Air Force in 1969 in Weapons Control Systems. He served a oneyear tour in Vietnam from 1970 through 1971 working on F-4's while stationed at DaNang Air Base. His career at the 180th FW began in 1976, and Carrisalez has seen the base transition from F-100s to A-7s to F- 16s. Not only has he witnessed a
large change in equipment and aircraft in the Air Force over the years, he also remarked on changes in personnel. 

"I came into the service in the 1960's," said Carrisalez. "It was a very turbulent time. Now it is an all volunteer service. Individuals are more focused on what it takes to get the job done." 

Cook echoed this sentiment. "People back in the Vietnam days held the Guard to a lower standard than active duty," said Cook. "That role has changed. I like to think of our maintenance crew as one of the best around." 

Cook entered the Air Force in 1972 and served in Vietnam on a weapons load crew at Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base for a six-month tour in 1973. He began his guard career
here in 1974. 

The 180th will miss the 75 years combined experience, knowledge and leadership of these two men. Your family here wishes you the very best.

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