Happy Mother's Day: Gregg Pays Tribute

Photo courtesy of Gregg Lubbe

I actually became a pilot in spite of my mother. Mothers are mothers and seam to all want their little boys to stay in a safe basement in the library. She had me playing a violin until I was in 5th grade, and stopped me from field trips if she felt that any hazard existed. 

My inspiration for flight came from my pilot father Bruno, and my two older Brother’s, Glenn and Tor Bruno (who is Norwegian—my parent immigrated here from Norway in the 1950’s). My dad had a Piper Comanche 250 in the 1960’s, and I learned to fly in his PA24, a 1972 Comanche 260C during the late 1970’s, while in high school in Reno Nevada. My brother Glenn was a rear in an F4 Air Guard Unit in Reno. My oldest brother Tor was born in Norway and worked for Norwegian Helicopter Service. They provided emergency SAR services to the region in the Oslo Fjord. I used to hear hair raising stories of life saving missions in the North Sea where they saved countless men in peril from the oil rigs there.

In the early 1980’s I join the Nevada Army National Guard as a Warrant Officer, I graduated from the Army Rotary Wing flight training school in Ft. Rucker Alabama in 1985, the same year that my father died, he never saw me graduate. I spent my entire career in the same National Guard MEDEVAC unit. I flew Huey’s the first half of my 21 year career in the Army, and the UH60 A/L Blackhawk the remaining years. 

During my decades in the guard, my full time job was with the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office in Reno where I worked for 25 years as a Deputy Sheriff. Once I was promoted to Sergeant the then Sheriff, Dick Kirkland, assigned me to create a Helicopter borne Law Enforcement unit to support  the 6700 square mile county spanning from Lake Tahoe, all along the eastern border of California, to Oregon. The R.A.V.E.N Unit (Regional Aviation Enforcement Unit) was borne. My mother was unhappy throughout the process, law enforcement, Army, fixed and rotor wing flight, spanning 30 + years, watching me and my crews flighting forest fires, preforming Search and Rescues on the news, and then deploying overseas during the war.

I survived this adventure and have since retired from the Sheriff’s Office as a Commander, and RAVEN still flies today after nearly 20 years of service. I left the military too that same year (2006) retiring as a Chief Warrant Officer Four (CW4) after deployments to Panama and Kosovo. Today I am 55 years old and I manage my own consulting/security business where I sometime fly every day in a Pilatus PC12, a Cessna 206 or a Eurocopter (now Airbus) EC120 helicopter.

I have three grown children, the youngest boy, Christian, is now a private fixed wing pilot. In January of last year he graduated from the US Army’s Officer Candidate School at Ft. Benning, Georgia. He will begin the “LUBBE Adventure” this year in July 2015 when he begins the Army’s Rotary Wing school at Ft. Rucker Alabama. His mother is also unhappy with me and my influence that helped to get him his forever gaze to the heavens wishing that he was up there, chasing the clouds, rather than on his job site as an engineer.

My mother Helen, now 92, is still alive and “with it”, she has been tortured by me and my brother’s careers, as pilots. Both she and my son’s mothers attend ever single event and departure, while waving their proud mommy flag, taking credit for every step of success, while simultaneously slipping me that mommy “stink eye."

I look forward to my son Christian’s continuing the tradition of torturing mommy’s, as I’m very certain that is has been our (the boys) adventures that has kept her going all of these years out of worry and panic. She’s not going anywhere until she certain that we make it back. 

Thanks, Mom!

Gregg Lubbe

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