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Dorsey retires from New York Air National Guard

29-year veteran served in combat, and help 174th Fighter Wing transition to new mission

Col. Charles Dorsey, right, retiring 174th Fighter Wing Vice Commander, receives the Legion of Merit medal from Col. Greg Semmel, 174 FW Commander, during a ceremony held on  Aug. 2. Dorsey was the guest speaker of the 2012 Cazenovia Memorial Day Parade, held May 28.

Col. Charles Dorsey, right, retiring 174th Fighter Wing Vice Commander, receives the Legion of Merit medal from Col. Greg Semmel, 174 FW Commander, during a ceremony held on Aug. 2. Dorsey was the guest speaker of the 2012 Cazenovia Memorial Day Parade, held May 28.

New York Air National Guard Colonel Charles “Spider” Dorsey, of Fenner, recently retired from the military after 29 years of service.

Dorsey, who finished his career as vice commander of the 174th Fighter Wing, was honored during a retirement ceremony on Aug. 2 at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse. He flew combat missions during the Gulf War in 1991 and served in Iraq in 2008.

As Vice Commander he played a key role in the wing’s transition from operating F-16 fighter to the remotely piloted MQ-9 Reaper.

During his retirement ceremony Dorsey said he always asked three questions prior to conducting any mission: 1) Is it worthwhile? 2) Is it legal ? and 3) Is there a backup plan?

“Regardless of your position, you should ask these same three questions for anything you do in life,” Col. Dorsey said. “You are part of the greatest Air Force that has ever been assembled. Continue to take the fight to our enemies.”

Dorsey is a command pilot and senior maintenance officer with more than 29 years of service in the U.S. Air Force and New York Air National Guard. He has flown missions in support of Operations Vigilant Warrior, Southern Watch, Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

He grew up in the farmlands of Iowa and attended the U.S. Air Force Academy, graduating in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science degree in history.

After completing undergraduate pilot training at Williams AFB, Arizona, he was initially assigned to serve as a T-38 Instructor Pilot. He was promoted to chief of the T-38 Student Branch before being assigned to Eielson AFB, Fairbanks, Alaska in 1989 to fly the A-10 Thunderbolt II, affectionately known as the Hog.

Dorsey quickly learned the ropes of being a combat A-10 operator and upgraded to four-ship flight lead in less than a year.

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