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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My First Time

Excellence, Leadership, Military Affairs, Perspective, Team
I remember the first time. Not all of the details, the names, the activities or dates, but I remember the emotions, the feelings, the thrill and sense of purpose. I remember the looks and the sense of satisfaction and achievement. I remember well my first real sense of leadership. I loved it. I was an Air Force Academy Cadet, having completed the first two years of schooling and military training that were a precursor to real leadership experience and real opportunities. While I had had a number of chances to lead small events, or take responsibility for a project to two, none of those events gave me a real sense of what leadership was all about. Having grown up in the shadow of who I think was one of the…
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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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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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