Derek Oaks - Page 2 of 7 - Is Your Current Vector Carrying You to Victory?

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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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Take Guns Out of the Gun Debate

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For anyone who considers the gun control debate, and where the responsibility lies for personal and familial protection, read the attached article.  The author is a long-time friend of mine, and he captures a key emotion of many. I never wanted to be a soldier or policeman, and I definitely never dream of using any type of weapon to protect myself or my loved ones. But the thought of being unable to do so really bothers me. We hear discussions of 'having to do something' to protect our families in the wake of each shooting event, and for me and I think many others the inability to do anything personally is really bothersome. I don't leave my bills to another. I don't want others to raise my kids. And I…
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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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