Derek Oaks - Page 2 of 6 - Is Your Current Vector Carrying You to Victory?

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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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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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My Mothers’ Day

Excellence, Family, Motherhood
For nearly 60 years, my mom has been, well, a mom.  Such a simple title, but with it literally the weight, well-being, and direction of the world.  From the first mother, women have raised children to be good parents themselves, to shape families, neighborhoods and nations.  Mothers have provided guidance, love, basic care, discipline, allowance, sustenance, and so many more things.  All under the simple title of mom. My dad has risen to great worldly heights, carried many titles, been praised for so much of what has filled his life, and deservedly so.  But none of it would have been possible without the woman standing beside him who carried the simple titles of mother and wife.  She was the anchor that made his ambitions possible, his family life tenable, and…
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Embracing Failure–The Best Way to Learn

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“The greatest teacher failure is. We are what we grow beyond.” YODA   In a fighter squadron, most of your time is dedicated to refining and practicing skills that you hope to never really use.  You spend hours studying, flight planning, briefing, flying, and then more hours debriefing how well each flight went per learning objectives and plans.  While flying has progressively become safer over the years, combat flying is inherently dangerous.  You are there to employ lethal firepower against an enemy who is trying to survive your barrage and kill you in return.  Consequently, there is no room for mediocrity and a casual attitude towards the job.  I imagine that the same is true for law enforcement, firefighters, infantrymen, and any other job where the consequences of failure are…
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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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Sources of Violence and Despair

Hope, Rule of Law, Value of Life
  The 50 cities listed above are in some of the most beautiful areas of the world.  Most of them are rich in some if not many natural resources.  They are surrounded by some of the most amazing views and environments in the world.  In their own way, they are also populated by many wonderful people.  What, then, would make them so violent?  Why would these areas be so much worse than so many other areas? I am not here to debate the facts or consider exactly what went into these rankings.  Change some of the criteria, and some of these cities will go up, down, or completely off these rankings.  What I am sure of, however, is that these…
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