CAMP HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea—Chief Warrant Officer 5 Brett W. Haskin flew his final mission flight on May 6, 2022 while serving as the Brigade Aviation Maintenance Officer for 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-U.S. Combined Division and was greeted with a water canon salute from the Camp Humphreys Fire Department upon his taxi on the tarmac.
“I had no idea the unit was going to do this for me. It was quite a surprise and a very special moment,” said CW5 Haskin, Brigade Aviation Maintenance Officer. “Water canon salutes are traditionally a sign of respect, honor and gratitude to mark the last flight for a veteran pilot on their last flight. In my case the last flight as a mission pilot.”
Water cannon salutes are a mark of respect in both the civilian aviation industry and the military aviation enterprise when a senior pilot retires, an aircraft retires, the arrival of a new aircraft to an organization and the final flight of an aircraft from an airport. In this instance, CW5 Haskin flew his final flight as a mission pilot.
The tradition of the water cannon salutes can be traced back to the 19th century maritime industry. When ships were launched on maiden voyages, fireboats would recognize the occasion with an arc of water from their on-board water cannons. This tradition made the jump in the late 1990s to the aviation industry when the Salt Lake City airport started recognizing their retiring Delta Air Lines pilots with a water cannon salute.