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3,000 flight hours and 20 years of service

Lt. Col. Ryan Savageau, 944th Operations Group deputy commander, is greeted by his daughter, Colbie, and son, Luke, after his 3,000th hour piloting an F-16, Feb. 27.

Lt. Col. Ryan Savageau, 944th Operations Group deputy commander, is greeted by his daughter, Colbie, and son, Luke, after his 3,000th hour piloting an F-16, Feb. 27. Savageau is one of less than 300 F-16 pilots around the world to complete this milestone. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Elizabeth Magnusson)

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Although there was the deafening sound of an F-16 taxiing from a few feet away, the excited faces of family and fellow colleagues could not be contained.

Lt. Col. Ryan Savageau, 944th Operations Group deputy commander, landed here Feb. 27, after surpassing 3,000 hour in an F-16 over the span of 20 years of service in the United States Air Force.

"I'm just a pilot who's been lucky enough to fly F-16s my entire career," said Savageau, who first completed 1,000 hours while on active duty here in 2005, and 2,000 hours while deployed to Afghanistan in 2011.

According to www.f-16.net, there are less than 300 F-16 pilots from around the world who have completed 3,000 flying hours.

"When any of us reach a milestone like this, it is really just a testament to our outstanding aircraft maintainers who do miraculous things with these 30 year-old fighter aircraft," said Savageau. "I am always in awe of how great our maintainers are. All the credit goes to them."

Savageau's first F-16 flight was in April 2,000. His last flight will be later this year when he also plans to retire.