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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The Doolittle Raiders–The Essence of a Heroic Volunteer Force

Armed Service, Flight, Freedom, Military Affairs, Value of Life, Veterans
I take no credit for the following story or its composition.  Just felt compared to share it to remind a few of us how great our legacy is as Americans.  I hope I would have volunteered as did this man and his compatriots.  For them, Patriotism was not a theoretical discussion.  As we sit around whining about our first world problems, take a moment or two to read this excellent firsthand account by the pilot of aircraft #13 on the Doolittle Raid off the Hornet in 1942. My  name is  Edgar McElroy. My friends call me "Mac". I was  born and  raised in Ennis , Texas the youngest of  five children, son of Harry and  Jennie McElroy.  Folks say that…
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Beyond Training–The Heart of a Protector

Armed Service, Excellence, Flight, Individual Greatness, Law Enforcement, Leadership, Veterans
  Mass shootings are never simple.  Regardless of how simple determining a 'cause' may be, and how easily we are able to punish those at fault, no one wins.  Loved ones are still gone.  Lives are forever changed for the worse.  Justice and new procedures never right the wrongs, never make everything better.  Such will be the case in the Parkland, Florida shooting. In the wake of the mass shooting in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the nation once again soul-searches for an answer to 'why' and how to stop future events like this.  Many are quick to point a finger at the first sign of failure.  We want to ban guns.  We want to crucify the FBI for their lack of action, to…
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The Problematic and Necessary Nature of Killing

Armed Service, Military Affairs, Personal Value, PTSD, Veterans
Credit Photo to the National Museum of the USAF When my dad was in Vietnam, he loved his fighter squadron.  He thought highly of his squadron mates, had great respect for most every single one of them personally and professionally.  He loved the competition to be the best, to 'do the mission' at your highest level, and  learn from each other.  The mission of a fighter pilot, put in PC terms, is to protect friendly personnel from enemy attack, to protect our freedoms, homeland, and national interests.  And those are all true.  But the technical aspects of the job often involve killing another human being before they kill you, or before they kill or maim one of your brothers in arms.  You are trained to kill, and to be very…
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