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


Do you believe America will ever make another manned flight to the moon or another planet?

     View Results
AP Video
Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 U.N. School in Gaza Hit by Israeli Strike Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Officials Warn of Avoidable Death in Hot Cars Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' House Committee at Odds Over Obama Lawsuit Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record
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