FORT MITCHELL, Ky. -- Whether he's flying alone, or with his team of Navy Blue Angels, Lt. Cmdr. John Hiltz is an inspiration.
He flew his F-18 hornet into Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport to be the Grand Marshal of his hometown Fourth of July parade in Northern Kentucky Thursday.
"I haven't lived here in Fort Mitchell for about, gosh, 15 years, so it's going to be very great to shake some hands and meet some old friends," Hiltz said.
Forsaking a car, he walked in the steady rain, greeting friends and strangers alike.
Some parade-goers were surprised that his 6-feet 5-inch frame could fit in a fighter jet.
"I'm right at the limit to fly F-18's," Hiltz laughed.
While budget cuts have stalled Hiltz's team from this year's air shows, he's looking forward to bringing that sense of aerial awe back in the near future.
"The Blue Angels are certainly ready to go, and hopefully next season for the 2014 air show season, we'll be back up in the skies."
In the meantime, Hiltz is inspiring his hometown with both feet on the ground.
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