Thursday, February 21, 2013

Enthusiasm vs. Experience

One day a US Air Force C-141 cargo plane was lumbering across the sky over the Pacific Ocean.  It was on its way to a remote Air Force Base in the Philippines.  A small jet fighter aircraft came from out of nowhere, streaking across the sky.  The young jet jockey wanted to show off his flying skills for his cargo hauling colleagues.

The young pilot, came on the radio and said to the transport pilot, "Watch this!" 

Immediately, the jet went into a steep climb, soaring up several thousand feet - then it nosed down and did a series of spectacular barrel rolls. After leveling off in front of the cargo plane, the pilot ignited his afterburners and shot across the horizon creating a loud sonic boom.  When he finally returned alongside the transport he asked, "Well, what did you think of that?"

The C-141 pilot said, "Very impressive." 

"Well old man, show me what you can do with that garbage bucket you are flying."

"Okay, watch this", said the cargo pilot!  

The jet jockey tried his best to maintain his air speed alongside the cargo plane and waited. For over eight minutes, the cargo plane rambled along with nothing happening.  Then the pilot came on the air and said, "Well son, what did you think of that?"

Puzzled, the young Lieutenant asked, "What the heck did you do?"

The seasoned MAC pilot said, "Well, let’s see.  First, I took off my seat harness; then I stood up, stretched my legs, walked to the back of the plane, said hi to all the crew members, picked up an updated weather forecast, went to the latrine, washed my face, combed my hair, poured a cup of coffee and picked up a cinnamon roll in the galley. 

I made it back to the cockpit am now seated back behind the controls enjoying a cup of coffee and a delicious roll."

The moral to this story, which I believe every young employee and aspiring leader should remember, is:

When one is young and inexperienced - speed and flash are the preferred methods to get a job done; however, as one matures and acquires wisdom - comfort and dullness are generally the best way to perform most jobs.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Vietnam Memorial Wall

Received this information from an old Air Force buddy. Although it is not an actual story, it shares a powerful story we should all read and remember - for it contains a history lesson and unbelievable interesting statistics regarding the Vietnam Memorial Wall most people don’t even know.

There are 58,267 names now listed on that polished black wall, including those added in 2010.

The names are arranged in the order in which each service member was taken from us by date. Within each date, the names are all alphabetized.

The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth, Mass.  He is listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been killed on June 8, 1956.  His name is listed on the Wall with that of his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed on September 7, 1965.

It is interesting to note that there are three sets of fathers and sons on the 'Wall'.

What is amazing is that 39,996 on the Wall were just 22 years old or younger and 
8,283 were just 19 years old. The largest age group of 33,103 were 18 years old.  
12 names on the Wall were 17 years old and though it is hard to believe five were just 16 years old. One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock, was only 15 years old.

997 names on the wall were killed on their first day in Vietnam and 1,448 soldiers were killed on their last day in Vietnam.

There are 31 sets of brothers are on the Wall.

There are also 31 sets of parents lost two of their sons.

54 men attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia.  (I wonder why so many were from one school?)

8 women are on the Wall, all nurses, who were tending to the wounded.

244 military personnel names were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War; 153 of them are listed on the Wall.

Beallsville, Ohio, with a population of 475, lost 6 of her sons.

West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation. There are 711 West Virginians on the Wall.

And don't forget about "The Marines of Morenci" They led some of the scrappiest high school football and basketball teams that the little Arizona copper town of Morenci (pop. 5,058) had ever known.  After the games they enjoyed roaring beer busts.  In quieter moments, they rode horses along the Coronado Trail and stalked deer in the Apache National Forest.   In the patriotic camaraderie typical of Morenci's families, the nine graduates of Morenci High enlisted together as a group in the US Marine Corps. Their service began on Independence Day, 1966 however only three returned home.

The Buddies of Midvale - Leroy Tafoya, Jimmy Martinez, Tom Gonzales, were all boyhood friends and lived on three consecutive streets in Midvale, Utah, on Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Avenues.  They lived only a few yards apart and played ball at the adjacent sandlot ball field.  And they all went to Vietnam.  In a span of 16 dark days in late 1967, all three were killed.  Leroy was died on Wednesday, November 22, the fourth anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination.  Jimmy died less than 24 hours later on Thanksgiving Day.  Tom was shot dead assaulting the enemy on December 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

The most casualty deaths for a single day in Viet Nam was on January 31, 1968 ~ 245 deaths.

The most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968 - 2,415 casualties were incurred.

Most Americans who read this, will only see the numbers the Vietnam War created.  For those of us who survived the war and to the families of those who did not, we see the faces and feel the pain these numbers created. We are, until we pass away, haunted with these numbers. These were our friends, our fathers, our husbands, our wives, our sons and our daughters. 

Never forget - there are no noble wars, just noble warriors.

Please pass this on to your family and friends, especially all those who served or grew up during this time.