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Reserve Citizen Airman completes 4,000th flying hour in T-38 Talon

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. David Easterling Jr., 43rd Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot, gives a thumbs up in the cockpit of a T-38 Talon on September 23, 2020, at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. The T-38 can reach a speed of up to 912 mph. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Davis Donaldson)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. David Easterling Jr., 43rd Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot, gives a thumbs up in the cockpit of a T-38 Talon on September 23, 2020, at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. The T-38 can reach a speed of up to 912 mph. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Davis Donaldson)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. David Easterling Jr. (left), 43rd Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot, and Capt. Kevin Mudd (right), 50th FTS instructor pilot, walk towards a T-38 Talon on September 23, 2020 at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. The T-38 is a twin-engine, high-altitude, supersonic jet trainer used in a variety of roles because of its design, economy of operations, ease of maintenance, high performance and exceptional safety record. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Davis Donaldson)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. David Easterling Jr. (left), 43rd Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot, and Capt. Kevin Mudd (right), 50th FTS instructor pilot, walk towards a T-38 Talon on September 23, 2020 at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. The T-38 is a twin-engine, high-altitude, supersonic jet trainer used in a variety of roles because of its design, economy of operations, ease of maintenance, high performance and exceptional safety record. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Davis Donaldson)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. David Easterling Jr., 43rd Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot, conducts a pre-flight check on September 23, 2020, at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. Air Education and Training Command is the primary user of the T-38 for joint specialized undergraduate pilot training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Davis Donaldson)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. David Easterling Jr., 43rd Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot, conducts a pre-flight check on September 23, 2020, at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. Air Education and Training Command is the primary user of the T-38 for joint specialized undergraduate pilot training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Davis Donaldson)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. David Easterling Jr., 43rd Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot, prepares to enter the cockpit of a T-38 Talon on September 23, 2020, at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. The T-38 has swept wings, a streamlined fuselage and tricycle landing gear with a steerable nose wheel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Davis Donaldson)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. David Easterling Jr., 43rd Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot, prepares to enter the cockpit of a T-38 Talon on September 23, 2020, at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. The T-38 has swept wings, a streamlined fuselage and tricycle landing gear with a steerable nose wheel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Davis Donaldson)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. David Easterling Jr., 43rd Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot, goes through system checks in the cockpit of a T-38 Talon on September 23, 2020, at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. The T-38 incorporates a "glass cockpit" with integrated avionics displays, head-up display and an electronic "no drop bomb" scoring system. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Davis Donaldson)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. David Easterling Jr., 43rd Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot, goes through system checks in the cockpit of a T-38 Talon on September 23, 2020, at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. The T-38 incorporates a "glass cockpit" with integrated avionics displays, head-up display and an electronic "no drop bomb" scoring system. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Davis Donaldson)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. David Easterling Jr., 43rd Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot, and Capt. Kevin Mudd, 50th FTS instructor pilot, taxi on the flightline after his flight on September 23, 2020, at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. The T-38 first flew in 1959 and the Air and Education Command began receiving T-38 models in 2001. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Davis Donaldson)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. David Easterling Jr., 43rd Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot, and Capt. Kevin Mudd, 50th FTS instructor pilot, taxi on the flightline after his flight on September 23, 2020, at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. The T-38 first flew in 1959 and the Air and Education Command began receiving T-38 models in 2001. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Davis Donaldson)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. David Easterling Jr., 43rd Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot, celebrates with family after completing 4,000 flight hours in the T-38 Talon on September 23, 2020, at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. As the T-38 fleet has aged since 1959, specific airframe, engine and system components have been modified or replaced. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Davis Donaldson)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. David Easterling Jr., 43rd Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot, celebrates with family after completing 4,000 flight hours in the T-38 Talon on September 23, 2020, at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. As the T-38 fleet has aged since 1959, specific airframe, engine and system components have been modified or replaced. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Davis Donaldson)

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

Working on a gloomy Wednesday morning can be difficult for many, but for Lt. Col. David “Beau” Easterling Jr., 43rd Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot, this day was special.

Easterling completed his 4,000th flying hour in the T-38 Talon on September 23, 2020, at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss.

The hours are an accumulation of flying at Columbus AFB, Randolph AFB, Texas and Williams AFB, Arizona, but Easterling says the bulk of the flying occurred at Columbus AFB.

When asked what reaching the milestone means to him, Easterling said it is a part of his journey as a pilot in the United States Air Force.

“The 4,000th hour mark is just part of the journey as a pilot,” he said. “I think it’s kinda neat, each one of those milestones are kinda fun. It’s just what happens when you come into work every day.”

Easterling started his flight shortly after 6:30 a.m., and landed around 8 a.m. After landing, he taxied back to the hangar where he was met by family, friends and wingmen.

One of the wingmen, Lt. Col. Daniela Martian, 43rd FTS operations officer, said it is a very special accomplishment and it only adds to Easterling’s great reputation.

“It’s pretty incredible in the scope of everything,” she said. “What I can say more than anything, is that Beau is a true representation of a military officer and aviator. He is just a top notch person.”

Martian says she and Easterling have a long history and that they were both instructor pilots at Columbus AFB back in 2003.

From her time spent with Easterling, Martian says he has a reserved personality and is still young at heart, but very knowledgeable.

“He is incredibly laid back, he is fun, he always brings laughter and joy to the table,” Martian said. “He is also very seasoned, you can talk to him about something with the airplane that went wrong to how to interface with a student. He never complains, he’ll do whatever you ask him to do.”

Easterling says what keeps him continuing to fly is not only the flying itself, but it is also the people he works with and the student pilots.

“I enjoy flying the T-38 and I enjoy instructing,” he said. “We fly with some very motivated students, we fly with great aircraft and I like being in Columbus. Don’t get me wrong, flying is great, but the main reason I continue to be an instructor pilot is the people I work with.”

Easterling says he is very grateful for the opportunity the Air Force has given him to be able to fly the T-38 for so long. He plans to continue to fly and instruct in the T-38 until he retires in 2021.