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HERO

1/15/2009 8:40 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Chesley B. Sullenberger III -- the pilot of flight 1549.



Career highlights
-- Flew F-4s for the U.S. Air Force from 1973 to 1980. Flight Leader and Training Officer with experience in Europe, Pacific and at Nellis AFB, serving as Blue Force Mission Commander in Red Flag Exercises.

Sullenberger spent years as an Air Line Pilots Association Local Air Safety Chairman, national technical committee member and accident investigator -- where he participated in several NTSB investigations of major aircraft accidents.

It only gets more impressive -- check out his unbelievable resume HERE.

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