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Not your average reenlistment

Retired Col. Ken Rizer and Master Sgt. Robert Martin stand preflight at SkyHaven Airport.

Retired Col. Ken Rizer, a first officer for Flexjet, and Master Sgt. Robert Martin, flight safety superintendent assigned to the 358th Fighter Squadron, stand preflight June 13, 2018, at SkyHaven Airport in Warrensburg, MO. Martin recreated his reenlistment from 2008, but as acting pilot rather than a passenger. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Taylor Davis)

Master Sgt. Robert Martin reenlists for the last time mid-air

Retired Col. Ken Rizer, a first officer for Flexjet, and Master Sgt. Robert Martin, flight safety superintendent assigned to the 358th Fighter Squadron, participate in a reenlistment midflight June 13, 2018, over Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. Martin wanted to recreate his reenlistment from 2008, but with the roles reversed as Martin was the acting pilot and Rizer participated as a passenger. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Taylor Davis)

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Colonel Kenneth Rizer, 8th Operations Group Commander, administers the oath of reenlistment to Staff Sgt. Robert Martin, 8th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, during an F-16 incentive flight over the peninsula April 9. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Quinton T. Burris)

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Colonel Kenneth Rizer, 8th Operations Group Commander, administers the oath of reenlistment to Staff Sgt. Robert Martin, 8th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, during an F-16 incentive flight over the peninsula April 9. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Quinton T. Burris)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --

Reenlistments are known well among the military world as an extension of a member’s time in service. For Master Sgt. Robert Martin, flight safety superintendent with the 358th Fighter Squadron, reenlistment represents something more.

 

“Reenlistment represents a dedication to the country,” said Martin. “It shows the American government that you’re ready to commit to them for another however many years.”

 

In Martin’s case, another four years is what he plans to commit to, as that will put him past 20 years in service. While this reenlistment is potentially his last, Martin has another reason that makes it significant.

 

As Martin was a former crew chief, his reenlistment in 2008 was experienced on an F-16 Falcon he maintained with retired Col. Ken Rizer, now a first officer for Flexjet.  Martin plans to recreate the reenlistment, but with the roles reversed. He will be the pilot and Rizer will join as a passenger.

 

“It’s been exciting to see the qualities I recognized in him as a staff sergeant have grown to a point where he’s now a leader in our Air Force,” said Rizer. “His future, whether in the Air Force or later in a flying career, looks very bright.”

 

With this last term of enlistment, Martin said he hopes to take his knowledge as a pilot and maintainer and educate folks internally on safety. He said he also hopes to inspire future aviators by getting certified as a flight instructor and begin teaching himself.

 

“If you want to fly, go find someone who’s done it already,” said Martin as words of advice. “Don’t say you want to do it, go do it and attack it,”

 

Martin said his end goal is to fly for a major airline.

 

“I’m going to fly as long as flying’s fun,” said Martin.