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Whitlow holds U.S. Navy Air Medal

Arica and retired U.S. Navy Commander Virgil Whitlow have been married 21 years. (CONTRIBUTED)
Arica and retired U.S. Navy Commander Virgil Whitlow have been married 21 years. (CONTRIBUTED)

Veteran of the Week

MADISON – During a two-month flying mission over Baghdad, Virgil Whitlow earned the U.S. Navy Air Medal. After 22 years of active duty, he retired as a commander.

He enlisted in 1985, served as an enlisted sailor for four years and was commissioned as Ensign in 1994. After basic training in San Diego, Calif., Whitlow completed his first assignment at Charleston (S.C.) Naval Hospital.

“I left Charleston and went to the USS Hermitage LSD-34 in Little Creek, Va. I completed a six-month Mediterranean deployment,” he said.

Whitlow graduated from Aviation Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Fla. in 1994. He completed flight school at Naval Air Station (NAS) in Milton, Fla. and advance flight training at Reese Air Force Base (AFB) in Lubbock, Texas.

“My first flying assignment was at Tinker AFB, Okla. with VQ-3 flying the E-6 (B-707),” Whitlow said. “I flew missions over the western United States and Pacific from Hawaii to Guam to Japan.”

Next, he attended Navy Test Pilot School at NAS Patuxent River, Md. He primarily flew the T-2 and T-38 but logged flight time in 26 different aircraft. “I then went to VX-20 test squadron, flew the E-6 and conducted the Navy’s acceptance testing on the C-40 (B-737),” Whitlow said.

On the USS George Washington CVN-73, he was Arresting Gear and Catapult Officer. “I completed two six-month deployments to the Persian Gulf to support Operation Iraqi Freedom,” Whitlow said.

Returning to Tinker AFB, Whitlow flew the E-6. His last assignment was U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt AFB, Neb.

He earned a bachelor’s degree at Georgia State University and a master’s degree from Trident University. He works as a senior engineer for Modern Technology Solutions Inc.

His wife Arica works as a loan processor for Redstone Federal Credit Union. Their oldest son, Miles, is a freshman at the United States Naval Academy. Cole is junior at James Clemens High School. Jewel is a seventh-grader at Liberty Middle School. The Whitlows moved to Madison in 2011.

Virgil is an active member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. The family attends St. Luke Christian Church in Huntsville.

Golf is his avocation — playing, discussing and watching it.

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