Chosen as the nation’s 12th Presidential pilot, Colonel (ret) Mark W. Tillman was at the controls of Air Force One through numerous national events. Most notably, he protected the President on September 11, 2001 by keeping him out of harms way and connecting the flying oval office to the nation’s first responders.
Col. Tillman was also the first pilot to fly the Commander-in-Chief into a war zone. An unprecedented challenge, Col. Tillman personally orchestrated and executed the covert operation with flawless success. His planning, done in complete secrecy, allowed for a complete surprise to the entire world.
Col. Tillman’s distinguished career spans 30 years in the United States Air Force. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 2004 and promoted to Brigadier General by the President of the United States—the first military line officer to receive this honor. For political reasons this was not confirmed by the Senate, hence Tillman retired as a Colonel.