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Capt. Daniel W. Denton, a pilot for Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 225, alongside Lt. Col. Douglas W. Pasnik, the commanding officer for VMFA(AW), who surpassed over 3,000 flying hours recently. Pasnik is a seasoned F/A-18D "Hornet weapons and sensor operator, having been assigned to multiple duty stations throughout his illustrious career.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Manuel F. Guerrero

CO reaches 3,000 flying hours milestone

15 Jan 2009 | Lance Cpl. Manuel F. Guerrero

One 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Leatherneck recently reached a career milestone that few have been able to obtain. 

Lt. Col. Douglas W. Pasnik, a Weapons and Sensor Officer and the Commanding Officer of Marine All- Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 225, surpassed 3,000 flight hours in the F/A -18D “Hornet.”

His route to this milestone began on Jan.15, 1995, when he was designated as a Naval Flight Officer.

“Three thousand flight hours is equivalent to flying for 125 days straight in an aircraft,” said Gunnery Sgt. Gary A. Walker, the Maintenance Control Chief for the “Vikings.” “That makes it an incredible feat.”

Less than 3 percent of Marine Corps pilots attain this feat, explained Capt. Craig Q. Gately, a weapons and sensor operator for VMFA(AW)-225.

“It all goes back to the dedication, time and personal sacrifice he has put forth,” said Walker. “This milestone obviously shows a man that displays courage, and that instills trust in his Marines.”

His performance as a Marine and an officer validates his accomplishment, said Lt. Col Daniel L. Shipley, the executive officer for the squadron.

“He is one of the hardest workers I know, because he is a selfless leader that cares for his Marines,” said Shipley. “He does whatever is necessary and takes the extra step, which is what really sets him apart.”

The hours did not come easy for Pasnik, who has been the CO of VMFA(AW)-225 since May, 2008.

“To achieve this milestone it took a lot of studying and planning, and a lot of luck in execution along the way.” said Pasnik.

Pasnik attained his hours through his participation in Operations Provide Promise, Southern Watch and Iraqi Freedom, as well as multiple training assignments.

“I’ve conducted nearly every mission in the F/A-18D Hornet,” said Pasnik. “But the most challenging and rewarding have been those in support of Marines on the ground.”

Although this was a major accomplishment, his first priority is training his Marines for deployment, added Pasnik.

“Right now we are preparing for a Unit Deployment Program to Japan, and I am excited about the readiness of the squadron,” said Pasnik. “I am very happy we are where we are – in the past few months I have really seen this team of Marines come together.”

Pasnik commends the Marines that have made it possible for his success.

“Three thousand hours is just a number for me,” said Pasnik. “It is an overall team effort; there have been a lot of Marines contributing to the goal of the ‘mission’ throughout the years.”

Pasnik knows his accomplishment is not an individual effort.

“I owe a lot to the Marines who have maintained this machine,” said Pasnik. “I owe a lot to the mentors who have helped me grow tactically and professionally along the way.”


3rd Marine Aircraft Wing