Michael Banzet joined the Air Force in 1987 as a E-1, the lowest rank in the USAF. He became a Crew Chief, working on the mighty F-4G Phantom, then F-16 C/D Falcons and finally was selected to join the F-117A NIghthawk program. He was a crew chief on the F-117s during Desert Storm. In May 1995, as an E-6 TSgt, he graduated cum laude from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Professional Aeronautics. He was commissioned as a maintenance officer and was assigned to an Air Launched Cruise Missile maintenance squadron at Fairchild AFB, supervising 140 people for both nuclear and conventional weapons for B-52 aircraft. He was named a Superior Performer during the dual Air Mobility Command/Air Combat Command Nuclear Surety Inspection performed in the spring of 1998, and Air Combat Command’s Maintenance Officer of the year in the same year. He was selected for Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training and graduated pilot training in April 2000. He then completed his Masters degree in Aviation Science with Honors, then Air Command and Staff College. He’s served in Desert Storm, Desert Fox, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom, and has 565 combat hours, with a total of 2400 hours in the air. He most recently completed a one year tour in Baghdad as the Training Advisor to the Iraqi Air Force Training Directorate. During his tenure, the Iraqi Air Force graduated their first Officer, NCO and Airmen classes, and the first pilot training class.
He was the recipient of many awards, including numerous Airman, Non-Commissioned, and Commissioned Officer of the quarter awards at the group and wing level. He's received the John Levitow award for the number one graduate at NCO Preparatory Course, Maintenance Officer of the Year for Air Combat Command, Tactics Officer of the Year, 305 AMW, Field Grade Officer of the Year, #1 of 74 Field Grade Officer, Coalition Air Force Transition Team, Baghdad, Iraq.
He was awarded a “Definitely Promote” to Lt Colonel, but instead chose to retire. He explained why in the article "Why I Quit", published in the Daily Interlake
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