MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
In what may be a record setting flight, former Marine Capt. Bob Lutz and retired Marine Lt. Col. Kingman Lambert teamed up Aug. 27 behind the controls of an L-39 Albatros jet aircraft. Soaring over the skies of southeastern Michigan, the pair of former Marine aviators stand as proof that a Marine is a Marine for life.
“I think we set the record for the highest combined age of a pilot and copilot flying a military aircraft,” said Lutz, who split time between active and reserve duty from 1954 to 1965. “I bet you wouldn’t find two Air Force guys our age in the same shape as us.”
Lutz, 79, and Lambert, 82, brought a combined 161 years of life experience into the cockpit. The pilots have shared a close friendship since being stationed together in Iwakuni, Japan, in the 1950s.
“Flying with Bob Lutz was an unforgettable adventure down my Marine aviation memory lane,” said Lambert, who flew eight years on active duty and 15 years in the reserves from 1952 to 1975. “[Lutz] has been a good friend all these years, since we first rode motorcycles together in Japan.”
Over the course of his 23 years in the Corps, Lambert flew multiple aircraft such as the F-6F Hellcat, F-4U Corsair, A-D Skyraider, F-7F Tigercat, F-9F Panther, F9F Cougar, F-J Fury and the A-4 Skyhawk. Lutz primarily flew an A-4 Skyhawk during his 11 years of service.
In addition to proving that “once a Marine, always a Marine” is more than a catchphrase, the two former aviators stand as living proof that the Marine Corps has and is still fulfilling its promise to return quality citizens back to the civilian world.
“I followed my natural inclination for sport by working for the Monsanto Company’s Astroturf Division, the Dunlop Corporation and the Spalding Corporation,” said Lambert.
Lambert, a former world class tennis player, also built two large racquetball facilities in Southern California. In his prime, he played at Wimbledon and was an inter-service tennis champion.
Following his time in the Corps, Lutz went on to become a high-level executive for numerous automotive companies, most notable serving as a vice chairman for General Motors. During his time in the automobile industry, Lutz was behind the development of vehicles such as the Dodge Viper and Chevrolet Volt and authored two books based on his extensive experience. Lutz attributes his extraordinary success to his time spent in the Corps.
“I would not have had my business career without the discipline and leadership training I received in the Marine Corps,” said Lutz. “Marines leaving the Corps and entering the workforce today will be disappointed by the lack of discipline they will find.”
For Marines whose time in the Corps is coming to an end, Lambert offers some advice on finding success in the private sector.
“Search the myriad careers available in the marketplace and if additional education is required, do it,” said Lambert.
Looking ahead, Lambert hopes that this will not be their last flight.
“We’ve flown together a few times before, and I certainly hope, God willing, that we can do it once or twice more,” said Lambert.