WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --
Col Jim Macaulay set out with a point to prove to his father 34 years ago when he made the decision to go to the Air Force Academy.
Fast forward to July 14, 2018, when Macaulay, the 442d Fighter Wing vice commander, bid farewell at a retirement ceremony at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, after 34 years of service.
A pilot, Macaulay has done 16 years active duty and 18 years in the Reserve. He’s earned more than 6,000 flying hours, has achieved a rating as a command pilot and as an A-10C flight examiner/instructor, and has taken on various leadership positions.
Macaulay has supported many military operations, such as the Gulf War where he served as a combat mission planner. He has also flown close air support and ground attack missions in support of Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Deny Flight, Northern Watch, Southern Watch and Allied Force. Macaulay said he’ll miss the people and family atmosphere the military has provided most as he says goodbye to what has been a long career.
“I’ve been forever impressed by the professionalism and dedication,” said Macaulay. “We want everyone in the Air Force to think that their job is the best. I’ve been humbled over the years by the people I work with that aren’t just the guys wearing the flight suit, but everybody that contributes to getting the mission done.”
With his retirement effective July 28, Macaulay said it hasn’t completely sunk in yet but there’s a liberation in knowing it’s come to an end.
“I know the wing is in great hands and the Air Force Reserve Command has some great leaders, a number of them here within the 442 FW,” said Macaulay. “I can leave without worrying about what’s going to happen.”
As far as what’s next, Macaulay said he has a lot of projects he looks forward to doing.
“My goal is to be able to get a little plane and take my girls up and show them the world the way I’ve had the tremendous honor and privilege of being able to see it,” said Macaulay. “I’d like to show them how beautiful the country is from the air.”
While Macaulay has his own goals to focus on now, he offers advice for future Airmen and military members alike.
“Manage your career, manage your life and maintain control,” said Macaulay. “The Air Force Reserve is a great place to do that, because you can serve on your own terms. Our country needs warriors to continue to serve and fight for American values. Never lose perspective of how important it is that we continue to serve and not take for granted our way of life.”