The North Bend Eagle


This short video shot by Jeff Van Nortwick on his final flight shows F-16 shortly after refuling, then the Webster countryside along Highway 79 north of North Bend. 

Final flight passes over North Bend

by Nathan Arneal
Published 8/10/22

Jeff Van Nortwick’s final flight took him over some familiar territory.

Click here for more pictures from Van Nortwick's flight

Chief Master Sergent Van Nortwick is retiring from the Nebraska Air National Guard on Oct. 1 after nearly 36 years of service.

Saturday [Aug. 6, 2022] he flew his final mission. He and his crew flew their KC-135R Stratotanker from Lincoln to refuel a group of F-16s from the 114th Fighter Wing out of Sioux Falls, rendezvousing near O’Neill.

Van Nortwick made a request for the trip home, asking if they could fly over his adopted hometown of North Bend on the way back to base and lower the refueling boom.

For his final flight, permission was granted.

“Since it was conveniently aligned,” Van Nortwick said, to the route they were taking.
So the Stratotanker found Highway 79 and followed it south to North Bend, passing over the town shortly after 3 p.m. Saturday.

Being the boom operator, Van Nortwick had the best seat in the house, able to look down on North Bend from above from rear of the plane.

“It’s so neat to see your own house and fly over your town,” he said. “For me being fairly new to North Bend – we’ve been here about eight years now – everyone here has been so welcoming. It’s home to me now.”

The flyover was arranged at the last minute, but Van Nortwick let the Eagle know his plans Friday. The Eagle put it out on Twitter, drawing a few people out to Main Street to watch.

Van Nortwick, 55, was born in California but graduated from Crete High School in Nebraska. After a year of college at Doane, he discovered he was going to need more funding to continue his college career. He transferred to UNL and joined the Nebraska Air National Guard in November 1986.

Read the full story in the print or e-edition.


<<Back to the front page