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One Hundred Years of Larkin

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jillian Maynus
  • 178th Wing

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. (ret.) Darrell Larkin celebrated his 100th birthday 8 May, 2021. As he landed his birthday flight at the Highland County Airport, he was greeted with many familiar faces from the past singing him happy birthday. Members of the Airport, family, friends, and Military personnel were gathered in the hanger for the surprise birthday celebration.

After almost 40 years serving at the 178th Wing in Springfield, Ohio and over 7,700 military flying hours in 24 different aircraft, Larkin retired not only once, but twice. First, after 28 years serving, he retired as a Lt. Col. from the Ohio Air National Guard, but he wasn’t quite finished with his career. Because of his commitment to serve and the joy his work brought him he enlisted again and served for 10 more years, eventually receiving the Air Force Commendation Medal and retiring once again, as a Tech. Sgt.

Larkin’s love for flying and the community that surrounds it certainly did not retire when he did. He continues to fly and serve others as he has been volunteering at the Highland County Airport during his retirement.

Larkin began his career during World War Two as a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He joined the Ohio Air National Guard’s 178th Wing, at that time being named a fighter wing. When asked about his favorite aircraft he flew during his time in service he stated “I liked them all!” To Larkin, it wasn’t about the Aircraft, it was about flying.

During the birthday celebration, Major Gen. (ret) Ray Moorman, who has worked with and known Larkin for over 60 years, congratulated his friend and led the group in singing Happy Birthday once again. He spoke about Larkins achievements and life while serving his country. He also noted that Darrell would say that “100 is just a number”.

Current Commander of the 178th Wing, Col. Kimberly Fitzgerald, was in attendance at the celebration, along with Command Chief Master Sgt. Scott Ross and Medical Group Commander Col. Matthew Moorman. Fitzgerald thanked Larkin for his many years of service, wished him a happy birthday and presented him with a 178th Wing patch. Command Chief Ross then presented him with the new 178th Wing challenge coin.

Everyone in attendance could easily see that after 100 years, Larkin is as humble as ever. As the audience stood and clapped for him, Larkin saluted the audience and expressed how thankful he was to be able to see so many familiar faces from his past.

There were refreshments following the ceremony, including celebratory cupcakes. Though the party was for him, Larkin waited for his guests to help themselves before he took part. Lt. Col. (ret.) Darell Larkin continues to serve his community with a smile on his face.