Civil Air Patrol

Lieutenant Colonel James Pfarr Retires from Air Force in Special Ceremony

Photo taken by Capt. Jeri Gonwa: Colonel Mike Archer, USAF (ret), the Air Force Liaison for Civil Air Patrol - Wisconsin Wing presents Lt. Col. James Pfarr with a Meritious Service Award during his retirement ceremony.

Milwaukee, Wis. – After 21 years of service to his country, Lieutenant Colonel James Pfarr retired from the United States Air Force in a special ceremony at Timmerman Composite Squadron located in Milwaukee.  Colonel Mike Archer, USAF (ret), the Air Force Liaison for Civil Air Patrol – Wisconsin Wing officiated the event.

With his wife, Pam and two sons present to witness the event, along with other family and friends present, approximately 60 members of Civil Air Patrol (CAP) from throughout the state stood at attention as a list of Pfarr’s achievements with the Air Force were read by Captain Thomas Kondziella, squadron commander.

Col. Archer pinned the Meritorious Service Medal on Pfarr’s Air Force uniform and presented him with a folded flag.  He was also awarded the Certificate of Retirement.

A bouquet of flowers was presented to Pfarr’s wife along with a Certificate of Appreciation for faithfully supporting her husband through his Air Force career. The couple’s two sons in attendance, Lucas and Ben watched with pride the special ceremony which honored their father.  Pfarr’s oldest son, Private Simon Pfarr, United States Army, is stationed in Afghanistan and could not attend the ceremony.

Pfarr entered active duty after participating in the ROTC program at Montana State University in August of 1985.  He attended Undergraduate Navigator Training at Mather Air Force Base (AFB), followed by Advanced Navigator Training, graduating in December 1986.

His first assignment was to fly in C-130’s with the 50th Tactical Airlift Squadron at Little Rock AFB from 1986 to 1989, and then transferred to the 14th Military Airlift Squadron at Norton AFB to fly in C-141’s from 1989 to 1992.  He was promoted to Chief Navigator for the squadron and became the 52nd Wing Senior Command Post Duty Officer during the 1992 Los Angeles earthquakes, Mt. Pinatubo eruption, Los Angeles riots and Desert Storm/Desert Shield.

Taking a career broadening tour to Peterson AFB until 1995, Pfarr served as a Communications/Computer Systems Officer at the Space and Warning Systems Center, leading the development of NORAD early warning systems.  Also serving as a requirements analyst and as the Chief of Systems and Project Management for the air and missile warning systems division, he led the rapid-prototyping effort to reprogram the Defense Satellite Program (DSP) satellites which gathered intelligence for the Balkans war and the invasion of Haiti.

From 1995 to 1998, Pfarr was assigned to the 13th Military Airlift Squadron at McGuire AFB as a C-141 navigator.  While there, he was selected to be the squadron Chief of Current Operations, Flight Commander, and served in numerous deployments as commander for wing intra-theater deployments to Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and Kuwait.  He left the active duty Air Force in the fall of 1998 to pursue a career in information technology and project management and became a member of the Inactive Ready Reserve.

“My time on active duty was extremely challenging and rewarding, and gave me the opportunity to accomplish much, much more than many of my peers could ever do in a civilian job”, reflected Pfarr when asked about his time on active duty.  “Serving my country as a navigator and Air Force officer has been the proudest accomplishment of my life so far!”

In 2003 Pfarr rejoined the active Reserves and became a member of the Great Lakes Region Liaison in Milwaukee, Wis. to Civil Air Patrol. It was at this time that he grew to appreciate the organization and it hundreds of volunteers.

“A recognized leader, he managed a team of reservists overseeing twenty-eight units and over one thousand one hundred volunteers, solidifying compliance with Air Force standards and enhancing the safety of ground and flying missions” according to Colonel George H. Ross III, USAF, Commander, CAP-USAF.  “Colonel Pfarr’s focused attention-to-detail significantly contributed to Wisconsin earning the highest ratings possible on the last two joint United States Air Force-Civil Air Patrol Compliance Inspections of the Wing”

“It’s been my pleasure to support the Civil Air Patrol in Wisconsin (a wing of excellence!)” stated Pfarr, “and serve my country at the same time.”

What’s next now that he has retired?  Pfarr is looking forward to continuing his career as an IT manager, pursuing his private pilot’s license, and spending more time with his wife and family.

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