In the front seat of an F-16 Fighting Falcon is U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Daniel “Deuce” Lindsey, commander of the 510th Fighter Squadron. In the rear is Italian air force Col. Vincenzo Tozzi, commander of Aviano Air Base – and Lt. Col. Lindsey’s flight instructor from 16 years ago at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas.
“He was one of my first assigned students,” said Col. Tozzi. “Deuce was doing well, and didn’t need much coaching.”
Lt. Col. Lindsey, however, didn’t quite agree with that sentiment.
“He gave me some downgrades,” said Lt. Col. Lindsey with a laugh. “I reminded him of those, and he said ‘oh, no, you deserved those.’ I probably did.”
Though the chance to fly together again after so long was an added bonus, that wasn’t the only purpose for the flight. It served as a show of gratitude from the 31st Fighter Wing to Col. Tozzi, as the outgoing base commander, as he transferred leadership to the incoming commander, Col. Luca Crovatti.
“Today was all about showing our thanks to our ITAF partnership,” said Lt. Col. Lindsey. “He’s been a great commander for us and an ally to help us in our mission.”
As the final flight landed once more at Aviano, the duo shared a toast with friends and family to commemorate the occasion.
“Life is a spinning wheel,” said Col. Tozzi. “Give what you can, because one day you might need to ask it back.”