Til the Last Breath

Excellence, Family, Hope, Individual Greatness, Leadership
“I can do this all day.”  --Steve Rogers, Pre-Captain America transformation, as he proceeded to get pummeled in a Brooklyn alley.   We recently lost our son to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy just prior to his twenty-fifth birthday.  Like all who are born with that disease, his muscles slowly failed, starting with his voluntary muscles, then lastly his involuntary muscles.  His heart finally pumped its last bit of blood on the 6thof October 2018, then quit.  But Andrew never did, not til his last breath. Andrew was 4 when he was first diagnosed.  We thought he just had flat feet, and wanted to get him some orthotics to help him walk like a normal little boy.  He was unable to really run, had a swaying gate that seemed to be compensating…
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Perspective and Goals in Simple Things

Perspective and Goals in Simple Things

Family, Perspective, Priorities, Relaxation, Vector
Often, even the simplest and most tedious of tasks provide much-needed relief from 'the grind' of modern life, and provide us with a moment to reflect on what matters.  They also present us with opportunities to stretch ourselves in the same moment. My wife and I recently found one such task in a dusty field in the middle of nowhere. We were returning from a short trip to the Teton Valley on the West side of the Teton Range in Eastern Idaho/Western Wyoming recently, a valley full of lush fields, amazing vistas, beautiful skylines, and abundant wildlife.  I had given a small presentation to an unnamed board, and we were in a hurry to get home to kids, family chores, and sleep…
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Establishing a Personal Baseline

Armed Service, Excellence, Individual Greatness, Leadership, Military Affairs, Personal Value
I arrived, along with nearly fourteen-hundred of my new classmates, in Colorado Springs during the first week of July 1985 for Basic Cadet Training at the United States Air Force Academy.  My parents dropped me off earlier that morning at Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia, and to say that I was apprehensive was like saying I thought Christie Brinkley was kind of cute.  I was borderline scared.  My dad had been a cadet in the Air Force Academy’s first graduating class, and had shared with me a glimpse of what to expect.  I was not looking forward to it at all.  It was hard to say goodbye to my family, but what filled my mind were the…
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Streamlining Decisions–Uncluttering

Armed Service, Excellence, Leadership, Military Affairs
As I stepped out the door for the flight, my mind was racing over the literally hundreds of details needed to successfully accomplish the mission.  I was Sandy 1 for a local training mission, the standard call sign for the Rescue Mission Commander.  I was leading a flight of four A-10s, and directing the escort, insertion, and egress of two HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters.  Additionally, we had a notional (simulated for this training flight) Airborne Warning and Control E-3 to give us a radar picture of the airspace, a flight of four F-16 Wild Weasels to find and destroy enemy ground to air threats, two flights of F-22 Raptors to provide air to air coverage in the area of operations, some additional F-16s and F-15Es for diversionary and actual strikes…
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Take Guns Out of the Gun Debate

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For anyone who considers the gun control debate, and where the responsibility lies for personal and familial protection, read the attached article.  The author is a long-time friend of mine, and he captures a key emotion of many. I never wanted to be a soldier or policeman, and I definitely never dream of using any type of weapon to protect myself or my loved ones. But the thought of being unable to do so really bothers me. We hear discussions of 'having to do something' to protect our families in the wake of each shooting event, and for me and I think many others the inability to do anything personally is really bothersome. I don't leave my bills to another. I don't want others to raise my kids. And I…
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Fighter Pilot Naming–Embracing Your Environment

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The Mayor has the floor One of the many traditions of a fighter squadron is the ‘naming’ of a new pilot, one who has recently achieved “Mission-Ready” status, or a level of competence where is can go to war with the squadron and contribute beyond cleaning the floors or making coffee and popcorn.  While often a new name just 'sticks' and becomes quasi-official based on some act of courage, humor, or stupidity, the more common norm is via a naming ceremony at a squadron roll call.  Said pilot is paraded before the squadron, and people who have flown with him, socialized with him, and otherwise worked with him share stories meant to embarrass him while giving the squadron an idea of who this new pilot is. More often than not,…
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