Jacksonville Flight Engineer Caps 50 Years of Service with 23,000 Flight Hours

Jacksonville Flight Engineer Caps 50 Years of Service with 23,000 Flight Hours

A flight engineer named Paul J. Waeghe, Jr., who works with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations, has spent more than 23,000 hours on a P-3 aircraft. He has been a flight engineer for 48 years and has served in federal roles for 50 years.

Waeghe joined CBP Air and Marine Operations in 2000 and has been with them for 23 years. Currently, he works as an instructor and senior flight engineer at the National Air Security Operations Center in Jacksonville.

In June 2024, Waeghe will officially retire from federal service, and his final flight will take place in Jacksonville. Originally from Wyandotte, Michigan, he began his federal service in 1973 in the U.S. Navy, where he served in a P-3 training patrol squadron.

According to press statement from CBP, “Over the course of the next 26 years, Waeghe rose in rank and responsibility, continuously serving in units that operated the P-3 platform.”

Throughout his time in the military, he went on nine deployments to places in Asia and Europe. Waeghe also worked as a flight engineer instructor and evaluator.

Eventually, he became a flight engineer for a Navy executive transport detachment, where he flew several admirals on official Navy missions.

“Even as a child, watching aircraft takeoff and land at Detroit Metro airport with my father, a World War II Army and Air Force Veteran, I always dreamed of flying,” Waeghe stated. “The U.S. Navy offered me that opportunity.”

“Shortly after my wedding in 1980, my wife and I discussed leaving the U.S. Navy,” Waeghe said. “We decided that continuing the career that I loved was the road to take. At the end of my naval career in 1999, I was fortunate enough to be hired by Air and Marine Operations doing the same job that I had loved doing.”

Waeghe completed 48 years as a flight engineer and logged over 23,300 flight hours on a P-3 aircraft by August 2023. In June of the same year, he officially achieved 50 years of federal service.

“Paul is a true professional and his knowledge of the P-3 is unsurpassed,” said Kraig A. Kamp, Director of National Air Security Operations Center-Jacksonville.

“He has led an unparalleled career in aviation. Air and Marine Operations will miss his expertise as a flight engineer and instructor, but we are thrilled that he will be enjoying his hard-earned retirement after giving 50 years of service to our nation.”

Waeghe stayed in Air and Marine Operations for 23 years because he loves flying, enjoys working with people, and values the mission.

Among all his accomplishments, what stands out most are the people he met during his career. Whether mentoring others or being mentored, these connections made his journey as a Flight Engineer fulfilling.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations protect our country by dealing with security threats in the air and sea. They use their skills in law enforcement, advanced tools, and partnerships at and beyond the borders.

They stop illegal people and goods from entering the U.S., look into criminal groups, stay alert in the air and sea, and handle emergencies and national assignments.

With more than two years of expertise in news and analysis, Eileen Stewart is a seasoned reporter. Eileen is a respected voice in this field, well-known for her sharp reporting and insightful analysis. Her writing covers a wide range of subjects, from politics to culture and more.