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  • By Wes Jones
  • 117th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Lt. Col. Darin Owens landed a KC-135 for the final time of his career on December 8, 2012 at the 117th Air Refueling Wing. Owen's family and friends gathered around to congratulate the pilot on his fini-flight with a traditional shot from a fire hose, provided by his wife.

After flying KC-135's for 18 years, Owens will join the 105th Attack Squadron in Nashville, Tenn. Owens will operate Reaper Drones, an unmanned aircraft used to support ground troops.

"I am looking forward to the new mission. I've always wanted to be directly involved in the combat operations," said Owens.

After touching down for the final time, Owens looked back on the 11 years he spent at the 117th Air Refueling Wing. Owens believes his time in Birmingham was some of the greatest years of his life.

"I will truly miss some of the best friends I have ever made. It's been more than a job for me, it's been just like family. Days like this are tough, you say goodbye to a lot of folks, but you hope to see them in other places," said Owens.

Owens is originally from Buffalo, N.Y. and his wife, Capt. Lauren Owens, is from Birmingham. Capt. Owens will join her husband on the same mission and they will begin their flight training in Syracuse, N.Y. Once their training is complete, they will live in Tennessee.

Lt. Col. Owens has recorded over 4,600 hours of flight time. A fini-flight is known widely in the United States Air Force as the last flight of a pilot's career.