Over 150 teammates, friends, alumni and Family gathered Oct. 28, for Allen Aberís retirement from the U.S. Army Parachute Team, Golden Knights at a ceremony held at the Golden Knight Hanger on Pope Field.

Aber retired 47 years of combined military and civilian service and 18,800 flight hours as an Army aviator. He was selected as the 2009 Aviator of the Year and set the team record as the longest reigning team pilot in the history of the team. While serving with the Golden Knights, Aber spent 10 years on the team as a warrant officer and 16 years as a Department of Defense civilian.

Capt. Benjamin J. Fizzell, aviation commander, praised Aberís accomplishments, mentorship, exceptional work ethic and dedication to the team and service to his country.

Lt. Col. Carlos A. Ramos presented Aber with the Commanderís Civilian Service Award and lapel button and presented him with the Order of Saint Michael, patron of aviators and paratroopers. Command Sgt. Maj. Rodney OíDell then presented him with the traditional Excalibur Sword, which is a continual reminder that ďOnce a knight, always a knight.Ē

Aber presented a dozen red roses and lithograph to his wife Julia, six yellow roses and a lithograph to his daughter-in-law Holly and Golden Knight coins and lithographs to his sons, Joel and Stephen and Team Six coins to grandsons, Logan and Kaleb.

ďThis has been a great job and more so, a big Family. I thank God and my beautiful wife Julia of 41 years,Ē he said.

Aber attended basic training and flight school (January to December 1969),continuing to South Vietnam, South Korea, Germany, Fort Bragg and Fort Rucker, Alabama (January 1970 to September 1990). In these assignments, he functioned as an instructor, examiner and mission pilot in three different rotary wing and five different fixed wing aircraft.

From October 1990 through June 2000, Aber flew for the USAPT as a military pilot and a contract pilot, flying U-21ís, UV-20ís, UV-18ís, and his personal favorite, the C-31. Along the way, he achieved the Master Aviator Badge and 18,800 hours of flight time.

Aberís assignment with the U.S. Army Parachute Team culminates his service to the nation from July 17, 2000 to Oct. 31, 2016.

He served as pilot in command, unit trainer, instructor pilot, instrument examiner, and standardization pilot in eight different Army rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircraft, including multiple, non-standard types in support of the USAPT training and aerial demonstrations throughout North America.

Aberís has a Bachelorís of Science in Aeronautical/Aerospace Engineering and he has accumulated multiple qualifications on rotary and fixed wing aircraft, spanning over four decades.