Arizona Air Force veteran recalls daring flight into Baghdad
Nov 7, 2023, 4:05 AM
(KTAR News Photo/Ben Brown)
This is the fourth of seven articles highlighting the grand marshals of the 2023 Phoenix Veterans Day Parade.
PHOENIX — Jeff DeVore joined the United States Air Force in 1992, accumulating over 4,400 flight hours while serving missions across the globe.
“I did 18 assignments in 25 years, so all over the world – Europe, the Pacific and of course in the Middle East,” DeVore said.
Arguably his most daring mission came in 2003, when he was one of the first aircraft to fly into Baghdad International Airport to try and secure the airfield.
“We were very confident in our abilities, but we were probably a little naïve too on how dangerous it actually was.” DeVore said, adding that they went in “at night with night vision goggles, with no lighting or anything in obviously a high threat area — it was a rush.”
DeVore piloted C-130 cargo aircraft and flew missions supporting critical battles including the Battle of Fallujah, the Battle of Ramadi and the Battle of Basra.
He said he felt a calling to serve “to do something bigger” than himself.
“I wanted a way to give back to my community and give back to my nation and the military seemed like the right way to do that,” DeVore said.
DeVore received numerous accolades for his heroism, including the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Air Medal and the Air Force Combat Action Medal, among many others.
After 25 years of service, Devore retired from the military in 2017.