05/23/05 — Goldsboro resident honored by Air Force

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Goldsboro resident honored by Air Force

By Turner Walston
Published in News on May 23, 2005 1:49 PM

A Mount Olive College graduate and Goldsboro resident was presented a prestigious Air Force award last month. First Lt. Paul Netchaeff, a maintenance officer at Pope Air Force Base, who commutes from Goldsboro, was awarded the Gen. Lew Allen Jr. Trophy last month for outstanding sortie generation.

A sortie is a single flight mission. Sortie generation includes preparation of an assigned aircraft in the least amount of time to get ready for flight.

First Lt. Paul Netchaeff


Netchaeff, 38, is the Officer-in-Charge of 105 airmen of the 743rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

"If planes are not mission capable, we get them fixed as fast as possible," he said. "In a time of war, getting the 82nd Airborne, as well as other personnel and cargo overseas cannot be delayed due to broke planes."

Pope serves as a stop-and-go point for aircraft that may be preparing to deploy from bases across the United States. Day to day, Netchaeff and his squadron deal with all types of aircraft, military and civilian.

They are responsible for launching, recovering, refueling, inspecting, and fixing the aircraft. As the flight commander, Netchaeff has responsibilities in the office as well as on the flightline.

"I manage the flying schedule and maintenance concerns but most importantly I try and take care of the Air Force's most important resources ... the personnel," he said.

"The results wouldn't be there," Netchaeff says, "if not for the hard work and dedication of the men and women that serve under me."

He said receiving the award came as a shock.

"This award usually goes to field-grade officers," Netchaeff said. "It was a surprise to see a lieutenant win."

The award was presented at the Pentagon by Gen. John Jumper, the Air Force Chief of Staff. "It was a little overwhelming," Netchaeff said. "It's not every day you get to meet, sit down and have a conversation with the Chief of Staff."

A 1989 graduate of Mount Olive College, Netchaeff grew up in Greenville, S.C. He moved to Goldsboro in 1989, when he was assigned to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. He worked at the base until late 2001 when he was commissioned, and then transferred to Pope.

Since then, Netchaeff has been making the daily drive to Fayetteville and back. "My wife grew up here," Netchaeff said. "We had the house, the kids established, and family in the area so I decided it would be easiest to commute."

Netchaeff and his wife, the former Diane Roberts, have four children: Nichole, 17; Haley, 8; Jordan, 6, and Guylar, 18 months.

The commuting will soon come to an end, however. Netchaeff is soon to be transferred to Robins Air Force Base in Warner-Robins, Ga. He will be promoted to captain in December, and is one class away from a master's degree in management from Webster University.

Netchaeff said he's in the Air Force for the long haul.

"I'm going to stay in as long as I'm having fun. Have fun at what I'm doing, enjoy my family, and take one day at a time."