Retired flight surgeon in Lubbock pays tribute to his hero ahead of Veteran’s Day

Local News

LUBBOCK, Texas — Colonel Larry Warmoth, a retired F-16 flight surgeon, said Thursday that he will spend this Veteran’s Day reflecting on his time in the military and paying tribute to his late father.

Colonel Warmoth said he started out flying F-14’s in the Navy, but did not feel it was the right fit.

“I thought there was something else I was supposed to do than just fly. It just was a feeling I had,” he explained. “As I watched the flight surgeons, I thought, ‘how cool is that?’ Their job is to help people every day.”

Colonel Warmoth went to medical school at Texas Tech, and finished his residency in Arizona, where he noticed there was an F-16 Training Center with the National Guard.

“I wondered if they need any old fighter pilots,” he shared.

They did. He served as a flight surgeon in an F-16 squadron for 25 years in San Antonio.

“The F-16 is a multirole fighter, so they can do air-to-air combat, but it also is a superb air-to-ground platform,” the Colonel explained.

He talked about his tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, but Colonel Warmoth said out of all the ways he served, assisting with hurricane relief on American soil was one of the most rewarding.

In one day, he and his unit “helicoptered out” 10,000 people from New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

“Seeing Americans that we we’re taking care of, that was pretty special,” he said.

Another fond memory he shared was about his time serving as a commander, when he oversaw young airmen and helped them to grow and develop as service members.

Colonel Warmoth said this Veteran’s Day, he honors his late father, Master Chief Gareld Warmoth, who also began his service in the Navy.

Master Chief Warmoth got out of the Navy, then was drafted and sent to Korea, where he fought in the Korean War.

“In fact, he died two months ago today, so I’m wearing his Combat Infantry Badge that he earned in Korea,” his son said while pointing to his jacket.

Before his father’s passing, Colonel Warmoth called his dad every Veteran’s Day to reflect on their experiences. He tearfully said, “This year will feel a little different.”

He told KLBK News that the greatest veteran he ever knew was his dad.

“I’m sure remember being a little boy and watching him run the rifle company. Seeing him in his uniform, that’ll be a special one for me,” Colonel Warmoth shared, adding, “I did a lot of things in the Air Force and the Navy, but never anything like being a foot soldier in Korea.”

Colonel Warmoth retired from the Air Force last December, after 29 years of serving in the U.S. Military.

“It’s the most wonderful thing I could ever have done in my life, as I get to wake up every morning and try my best to help somebody, and I would do it again in a heartbeat,” he said.

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