The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

May 1, 2013

'Chief' retires after 27-year career

— Reflecting on her 27-year Army career, Stormy “Sandi” McLemore Ripley could not recall the last year she shared a Thanksgiving and Christmas with her husband, son and parents, Melvin McLemore and Wanda McLemore of Athens.

Ripley, who served in Panama, Iraq, Haiti and Egypt, officially retired April 1 as a chief warrant officer 4, senior safety officer and pilot for the Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss, Texas.

“Being away from family is just the price some people have to pay. When I went into the military, I was single and not looking to get married. It was just something that happened along the way, and my husband understood because he was in the Army, too,” she said.

Military career

Ripley flew UH-1 Hueys early in her career and then UH-60 Blackhawks, and logged 21 years at the controls of a helicopter. Her last official flight was Sept. 7, 2012, as she flew a “60” from Fort Bliss to Roswell, N.M.

She said her retirement decision was based on the desire to be able to spend quality time with her 13-year-old son, despite lingering injuries from making airborne jumps throughout her career.



Text Only
Local News

What is your favorite Easter candy?

Chocolate bunnies
Marshmallow chicks
Chocolate eggs with filling
     View Results
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee