Air Force general has fond memories of borough

General Arthur Lichte and his wife Chris met former Yankees player Tino Martinez and manager Joe Girardi after throwing out the first pitch at a Yankees spring training game in 2008. Lichte grew up in the shadow of Yankee Stadium. Photo courtesy of the United States Air Force.

An Air Force general who grew up in the borough and is a graduate of Manhattan College’s R.O.T.C. program urges the borough’s young people to consider military service.

General Arthur Lichte, who is in charge of the Air Mobility Command that includes 140,000 airmen who fly missions every 90 seconds, grew up in Highbridge. His command does all of the refueling, evacuation and medical transport for troops around the world. He has been in the Air Force for more than 38 years and will retire and relinquish his command by November.

Lichte said that he grew up in the “shadows of Yankee Stadium” on E. 162nd Street, and attended Sacred Heart School located at 95 W. 168th Street. He said the parish, with its never-ending athletic and social possibilities, was the center of his existence as a young man.

“Life was centered around the parish,” Lichte said. “The Christian Brothers would take us all down to the ball fields near Yankee Stadium, and we would play every kind of sport. It was a wonderful time. I loved where I grew up, and I love reminiscing about it.”

Lichte later attended Cardinal Spellman High School and Manhattan College, where his R.O.T.C. instructor told him during his sophomore year he was fit psychically to be a pilot.

“My ROTC instructor said ‘you have to get up in the blue, because once you do, you are going love it,’” Lichte said. “I quickly fell in love with flying.”

Lichte said that the quality of the people that he worked with over the years is what made serving in the Air Force a real privilege.

“What I remember most about the past 38 years is the quality of people I served with,” Lichte said. “They were all people who loved this country. I am proud to have served with such great men and women, and as I step down I can do so with the assurance that we have tremendous airmen who will do great service to the country.”

Lichte encouraged young people in the borough today to consider serving in the Air Force or other armed services.

“Their dreams can be met, and they can do so much,” Lichte said. “I know that sometimes, when you are growing up in the Bronx, you don’t realize that there is whole other world out there. For me, it took leaving home in the Air Force to see all of the possibilities.”

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