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…
Read More

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…
Read More

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…
Read More

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…
Read More

Unexpected Heroism from a celebrity Hero–Eddie Rickenbacker

Freedom, Friendship, History, Individual Greatness, Leadership, Military Affairs, Personal Value, Veterans
Eddie Rickenbacker was America's Ace of Aces with 26 kills during World War I.  Despite his initial rejection into flight school because of his 8th grade education, Eddie eventually became the leading ace, Medal of Honor winner, darling of the Allied media, and commander of the 94th "Hat in the Ring" Squadron.  The world knows him for such heroics, but they were just expressions of who he really was--a quiet, every day over-achiever who never took himself too seriously or forgot his roots. Losing his father at 13, Eddie Rickenbacker instantly became the man of the house.  The third of 9 children, but the one who felt the responsibility most for his family, Eddie dropped out of…
Read More

Stripping Away the Titles–True Greatness

Excellence, Leadership, Personal Value, Veterans
Throughout his life, my dad has held many titles.  General, Fighter Pilot, Senior Vice President, President, Elder, Chairman, Instructor.  The list goes on and on.  His resume over the years looks almost like something made up to boost someone's ego and secure a high-paying job.  The consumate type A, he was ever-willing to do what was required for the mission at hand, to take charge, and to serve where needed.  His 'to do' list has always been longer than the day, and his ability to prioritize and tackle that list resulted in a successful career at many levels. Now, my dad is about to turn 82 (Happy Birthday Dad).  A stroke-like accident almost 5 years ago nearly killed him, and robbed…
Read More