Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) David Hetzel
is a Bakerton, W.Va., native who commissioned at the University of West Virginia. He began his active-duty Air Force journey at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. as an air-police officer in 1959. During his 25-year career, he served numerous positions including officer in-charge of the Department of Defense Sentry Dog School in Lackland AFB, Texas, and Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps instructor in Tucson, Ariz.
During the Vietnam War, he and other members of his team conducted evacuations for Operation Babylift, which was a 10-day, U.S-led effort that transported more than 3,300 Vietnamese orphans out of the country. The team worked around the clock and loaded evacuees onto C-130s and C-141s every 20 to 45 minutes. By the time his work and mission were complete, Hetzel was the last Air Force officer to fly out of Vietnam at the Fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975.
After retiring, he moved to Tifton, Ga. with his wife and has since served as a Tifton City councilman. Currently, he spends much of his time to non-profit organizations devoted to making Tifton a better place for the future.