A friend of mine is flying his last Viper sortie this week. I recently read something that comes close to describing how bittersweet that can be.
Never another city, over it for the first time, in the lead, the field that you have never landed on far below, dropping down towards it, banking steeply one way, then the other, calling the tower, telling them who you are. Never another sunburned face in Tripoli looking up at you as you taxi to a stop, the expression asking, ship OK? A thumb raised, OK. And the dying whine, like a great sigh, of the engine shutting down, the needles on the gauges collapsing. It is over.
— James Salter from Gods of Tin