General Jodice completes ‘fini’ flight over nation’s capital
Major Gen. Ralph Jodice, Air Force District of Washington commander, wrestles with his wife Judy over a fire extinguisher she and Col. Phillip Gibbons, AFDW vice commander, were using to try to douse him with after his final flight Tuesday at Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility Washington. General Jodice was welcomed back to Andrews by base leaders, after flying over the Pentagon and Capitol, with a tradition that dates back to the Vietnam War era, when pilots who completed 100 safe combat missions were doused down with fire hoses upon landing. On Wednesday, General Jodice is slated to pass the AFDW guidon to Maj. Gen. Darrell Jones during a change of command ceremony in Hangar 3 at Andrews. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Ben Newell)
General Jodice completes ‘fini’ flight over nation’s capital



by Ben Newell
Air Force District of Washington Staff Writer


11/17/2009 - JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- The twin skids of the 1st Helicopter Squadron's aircraft number 21 kissed the ground gently on an overcast November day, signifying the "fini" flight, or final flight, of Air Force District of Washington Commander Maj. Gen. Ralph Jodice.

A fighter pilot by training, General Jodice had the privilege of landing the UH-1 "Huey" at two historic locations during his flight. "We began with a tour of the National Capitol Region, including the airspace surrounding the White House and Capitol," said Lt. Col. Robert Meeks, 1 HS commander, who served as co-pilot during the flight.

General Jodice, who is a command pilot with 3,500 flying hours fixed-wing aircraft ranging, enjoyed the opportunity. "Getting to fly with the 1 HS was very special," said the general. "We headed out over the National Mall and parts of Brandywine, Md., which really brought home for me why AFDW is here serving the National Capital Region." The general sharpened his landing skills at the Pentagon and on the flightline at Andrews.

After touching down here, General Jodice was met on the flightline by his wife, Judy, and approximately 60 members from the AFDW command section, 316th Wing, 1st Helicopter Squadron, 316th Security Forces Squadron and the 844th Communications Group. Faithful to fini flight tradition, spectators soaked the general with a cascade of fire extinguisher fluid, champagne and beer. After unsuccessfully trying to wrest control of the fire extinguisher from his wife, General Jodice gave in to the torrents and his flight suit became thoroughly soaked.

"It's just a shame that his sons couldn't be here to see this," said Ms. Jodice. "When they were growing up, they loved his fini flights, and with the helicopters and SFS out here, it would have really driven them crazy."

The fini flight has a long tradition in the Air Force. During the Vietnam war, pilots who completed 100 safe combat missions were doused down with fire hoses upon landing.

On Wednesday General Jodice is slated to pass the AFDW guidon to Maj. Gen. Darrell Jones during a change of command ceremony taking place at 9 a.m. in Hangar 3 on Andrews. The fini flight is part of a series of events leading up to the ceremony itself.

The Jodices will be moving to Izmir, Turkey, after the upcoming AFDW change of command, where General Jodice will assume command as Allied Air Component and 16th Air Expeditionary Task Force Commander; a NATO assignment.