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John Hayes

Captain (Sep.) John Hayes embodies the sentiment of serving after a career of service. Hayes began his six years of active-duty service at Webb Air Force Base, Texas, after graduating in 1967 from Southern Methodist University as an Air Force ROTC cadet. Hayes’ next assignment took him to Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina, where he flew the C-141 Starlifter. While stationed at Charleston, he deployed to Vietnam for 10 months and flew 166 combat missions. Hayes was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary aerial achievement as an EC-47 pilot at Da Nang Airfield, Vietnam, March 1, 1972. On that date, Hayes flew an extremely hazardous mission through adverse weather conditions and through the constant threat of hostile ground fire and attack. In spite of the dangers, he accomplished this highly intricate mission in support of friendly ground forces. Hayes separated from the Air Force and began the next chapter in his life as a commercial airline pilot for Braniff Airlines and later U.S. Airways. His entire flying career spanned from 1972 to 2005, with more than 24,000 flying hours upon his retirement. Always an Airman, though now out of uniform, Hayes continues to be part of veterans’ organizations where he serves in various leadership roles.