Ohio’s longest serving public employee is hanging up the proverbial hat, according to Columbus Dispatch. You might think we’re talking about some longtime clerk stuffed and forgotten in the belly of a government building, but 80-year-old Miles C. Durfey ain’t no slouch.
In fact, he’s kind of like the OG of state government and service, fighting Commies, serving as a county prosecutor, and even commandeering a squadron of jet fighters to screw with Michigan fans — all the while drawing a check from the state for 54 years.
Durfey was an attorney, and much of his service was spent in that capacity, whether as an assistant prosecutor in Franklin County or clerk of the Court of Claims. But he had a parallel career in the Ohio Air National Guard, where he eventually earned the rank of Major General.
His escapades in the sky sound like stuff you could make a movie out of. He was all ready set go to bomb Cuba durning the ’62 missile crisis, a move that was called off only hours before go. But ’84 was the year of Durfey’s crowning achievement, when he led a fighter squadron in a low pass over the Ohio-Michigan game.
"The Flyover" endures more than "The Game" in the memories of many who attended the 1984 OSU-Michigan football game. Leading three other A-7 jets in formation at 300 mph, Durfey got word from air-traffic control 8 miles out from Ohio Stadium that banner-dragging airplanes were over the stadium at 800 feet, the altitude Durfey had briefed for his flyover.
With little time to react, he instructed the squad to fly under the planes, to 330 feet, even lower than the twin 30-story dormitories nearby.
Durfey made the second planned pass over the stadium at the same altitude, instructing his squad, "We're going to heat it up this time, boys." False teeth almost certainly were shaken from mouths as the jets screamed over at 500 mph.
About a year later, Durfey said he was urged by the Pentagon to retire from the Guard, which he did as a major general with 28 years of service.
Asked if he'd do the same flyover again, Durfey didn't hesitate: "Oh sure. Fighter pilots just think differently. There are no limits."