Cutting Corners: Beating the Inspection

Armed Service, Excellence, Flight, Integrity, Leadership, Military Affairs, Personal Value, Veterans
“Whoever is careless with the truth in small maters cannot be trusted with important matters.” Albert Einstein In the winter of 1972-73, my dad was the commander of the 391stTactical Fighter Squadron, part of the 366thFighter Wing at Mountain Home, Idaho.  The 391stflew the Air Force’s newest fighter-bomber, the General Dynamics F-111F.  With thirty percent more thrust and no increase in weight over the original F-111A, the Aardvark, as it was called, was a Cadillac.  Designed to fly at speeds close to the speed of sound on the deck, with a new digital radar that was better than advertised, it was loved by her crews.  Unfortunately, the first years in service of the F-111 were marred by accidents, misapplications of its capabilities, a disastrous introduction in Vietnam, and a high operating cost.  Putting it lightly,…
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True Measure of Greatness

True Measure of Greatness

Armed Service, Excellence, Friendship, Individual Greatness, Leadership, Priorities, Veterans
I recently attended the Memorial Service of W. Parker Greene of Valdosta, Georgia.  A former Army Corporal, furniture businessman and father/husband from an obscure Southern town, anyone who did not know him is sure to wonder why the highest ranking officer in the United States Air Force, the Mayor, State Chief of the Highway Patrol and a number of other dignitaries, including over 3,000 people, would show up to celebrate the life of this 87-year old Southern Gentleman.  And therein lies the secret of greatness of Parker.               Parker did not hail from any powerful family.  He was not a great business leader who commanded millions of dollars.  He was not a politician in any sort of way, as I never saw him disparage an opposing view or another person, and he sought no elected…
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Veterans and Ballplayers–Helping them Find Their Next Team

Armed Service, Freedom, PTSD, Team, Veterans
Military Team Members The statistics are staggering. According to a 2009 Sports Illustrated article, 78% of National Football League (NFL) players are either bankrupt or are under financial stress within two years of retirement and an estimated 60% of National Basketball Association (NBA) players go bankrupt within five years after leaving their sport. While many of these numbers have been disputed and minimized, the facts still clearly show a large number of formerly elite athletes struggle after their careers. They struggle with the day to day, with divorce, with finding other employment, with finding meaning in their lives. The statistics between these former marquis athletes and veterans is eerie. Like the athletes, many veterans were the cream of the crop (Just don't ask Salon or the NYT). They endured challenging training, acquired skills that few in the world…
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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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Memorial Day–A Boy’s Favorite Christmas Present

Armed Service, Christmas, Freedom, History, Military Affairs, Motherhood, Veterans
My father in law often spoke of his favorite Christmas gift ever--a box of shrapnel pieces from Army Air Force bombs. During World War II, the United States' industrial base kicked into high gear to supply bombs, bullets, aircraft, tanks, jeeps, ships, and GI helmets to the war front.  Aside from supplying basic wartime needs for the over twelve million US servicemen, the American factories supplied all of the above for British, Soviet and other allied forces to help defeat the Axis powers.  And it worked. In a steel mill in Pennsylvania, hot molten steel was formed into everything needed to win the war.  Part of that steel was formed into bomb bodies, weighing anywhere from one…
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