The Boeing AH-64 Apache is probably one of the coolest and most badass aircraft in existence. The four-bladed twin-engined death-dealing harbinger of destruction has served with the United States Army and a number of other countries around the world for nearly forty years, flying with distinction in a variety of conflicts spanning the globe since the 1980s. And for the first time in its entire history, a pilot has punched through the 10,000 flight hours mark.
Chief Warrant Officer 5 Ken “Jedi” Jones of the Utah Army National Guard is that pilot- the most experienced Apache aviator to have ever flown the bird, developing such a log book over a lengthy career with the US Army and National Guard that has seen him serve overseas on multiple deployments, and function as an instructor pilot, training the next generation of Apache drivers. Starting off with the AH-64A on active duty in a Cavalry unit in 1986, Jedi is everything his awesome callsign makes him out to be- humble, highly skilled and extremely experienced.
Today, he flies the AH-64D Longbow Apache, still with the Utah National Guard, along with his son, who also flies Apaches. In his 35 years of service, Jedi has accumulated 2270 combat flight hours over the course of four separate tours in the Middle East in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. he was additionally involved in a rescue operation in Afghanistan that saw him assist in extracting beleaguered special forces soldiers. Though his time in the Army is gradually drawing to a close, Jedi’s example, leadership and airmanship will undoubtedly remain a part of Army Aviation lore for years and years to come.
“The continuity that the National Guard has provided me for the last 23 years has allowed me to develop an outstanding AH-64 Apache combat flying program, which has also allowed me to fly more than 10,000 flight hours in the AH-64,” Jones said. “I have enjoyed every minute being in the Apache and the Utah Army National Guard. It has been a truly great opportunity and honor for me to serve my country in this capacity.”
-CW5 Ken “Jedi” Jones, Utah National Guard