Getting Hosed Has Never Been as Much Fun
By Tech. Sgt. Joshua Mead, 103rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 21, 2012
BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE - East Granby, Conn. -- The tradition of the "fini-flight," or final flight, has been commonly attributed to the Vietnam era where pilots were doused by a firehouse after completing their 100th safe combat mission. On Bradley Air National Guard Base, March 3, 2012, the tradition continued for Col. Pete "Meat" Siana as he makes the transition from an Air Force pilot to the Chief of Staff for the Connecticut Air National Guard.
Upon exiting C-21 aircraft 126, Siana was greeted by his family excitingly blasting him in the face with water from a fire extinguisher can; it wasn't long before his brothers-in-flight doused him in champagne. And while under different circumstances one may not enjoy being a wet mess, Siana was all smiles.
"It feels great," said Siana. This was especially important to him because he had previously missed his A-10 fini-flight in 2007. Three times he had tried to fly his last A-10 mission but the weather had not cooperated. This time, the weather was dreary but the occasion was well accompanied.
Aside from his family, Siana was celebrated by friends of the Conn. Air National Guard and even flew his flight with two of his longtime friends, Col. Kevin "Sloth" McManaman and Lt. Col. Kenneth "Tuna" LaTona. Siana was stationed with both in England flying the A-10 and even roomed with LaTona during officer training school 23 years ago.
During those years Siana said his most memorable moments were flying the A-10 throughout Europe, Bosnia, Italy and deploying for Operation Iraqi Freedom. But it is the camaraderie and the skilled expertise of the Connecticut Guard that made Siana's switch from active duty to the Guard so memorable.
"I've really enjoyed flying in the Guard," said Siana, "The camaraderie in our unit in particular is unmatched."
Additionally, Siana said he has never had any airborne emergencies or aircraft maintenance issues because the maintainers take care of the jets so well.
"They always give you a good, safe jet," he said.
Siana said he would miss his flying unit, but is really looking forward to the Chief of Staff position and maintaining that camaraderie that makes Bradley a great unit. Who knows, maybe the Flying Yankees would give me a ride somewhere, Siana said jokingly.
Kidding aside, Siana expressed his gratitude to the Bradley family when he said he wanted to thank everyone in the operations and maintenance units and to the fire department for making the water arches over the flightline as he taxied in. Siana also thanked Master Sgt. Timothy Barkyoumb whom he personally asked to be his crew chief for the fini-flight.
Siana finished up his 23 military flying years with more than 4,000 military flying hours and still plans to fly 777s for American Airlines.