USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- The commander of Carrier Airwing 3 logged his 6,000th hour of flight Jan. 14 after a successful 3-wire trap aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) in an E2-C Hawkeye assigned to Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 126, the "Seahawks".
Capt. Rick Pawlowski has spent 360,000 minutes, 250 days, 6,000 hours flying through the air in E2-C Hawkeyes, A-6 Intruders, Helicopters, F/A 18 Super Hornets and a conglomerate of other aircraft.
"This is an incredible squadron and an awesome ship," Pawlowski said. "To have a milestone like this happen on this ship - it couldn't get any better than this. I certainly have the gray hair and wrinkles to go along with the 6,000 hours."
Pawlowski said the journey to 6,000 wasn't an easy one, but it was immensely rewarding.
"I started my career as an E-1 in the Navy in 1978, and got my degree at night and on the weekends with the only goal in mind to be a naval aviator," Pawlowski said. "I'm very glad it worked out the way it did."
Harry S. Truman's Commanding Officer, Capt. Herm Shelanski, reiterated the hard work and dedication it takes to log so many hours of safe flight with no mishaps.
Shelanski congratulated Pawlowski for logging 6,000 hours, stating that it was a significant accomplishment.
"It's a lifelong goal of flying safely and with a lot of skill. He has done it with a lot of real accuracy and precision," added Shelanski.
It is an unusual feat for a pilot to log 6,000 hours of flight time because as pilots make rank they are put into leadership positions that rarely allow them much time to fly, according to Pawlowski. He said he is lucky because across nine deployments, and several squadron assignments, he has had the opportunity to fly more than the average pilot.
"A lot has to do with the kind of aircraft I fly and the type of tours I've had," Pawlowski said. "I am just glad this is where it happened. The people here on [Harry S. Truman] and in the Air Wing humble me everyday with their brilliance. From the folks who maintain the aircraft and support us everyday, to my fellow aircrew accomplishing the mission, it's the Truman team that is so incredible."
Pawlowski said he doesn't see 7,000 hours in his future, but after more than 30 years of proud naval service he feels pretty good about reaching this unique milestone.
"I was hoping to have this chance but you never how it will work out," he said. "I'm just thankful it did."
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.