Posts from — June 2009
A few weeks and right before my departure for Ireland this Spring, I received an email from my Company Commander, Colonel Dougherty, better known to most of us as Major “D,” his rank when we know him, of A Company 158th Assault Helicopter Battalion of the 101st Airborne Division, US Army. This was my last official mission as an army aviator and Warrant Officer, on my last assignment serving with the US Army and in Viet Nam.
In his message he talked about some regrets that he had as a young commander, the loss of what we all went through during that war labeled a conflict, but what really got my attention was when he spoke of his final approach to his own landing. A wonderful metaphor, for a distinguished army aviator at the closing of his career and eventful death that, we all face at one time or another.
He explained how he had hoped he was not too hard on me during those formative years of a new command and mission, and how he knew that I would be all right and that he could trust me with any mission. He talked about what we had accomplished from leading a bunch of kids mostly just out of college, not knowing anything about facing one’s own fear especially in battle, into a top honored unit with a distinguished service record.
He taught us, mostly by example, how to be with our own new expertise of flying and leading a crew into battle. Most of us where just out of flight school, with little if any military experience and most had not been in combat. In that combat situation, Major “D” taught us how to depend, and trust the awareness of our limits and expertise of flying the helicopter into combat, that needed and demanded so much attention from us, as well as leading the crew to full effectiveness during “down” time and “flight” time.
So we learned how to be the best pilots, the best aircraft commander, the best officer, best skipper for the aircraft and crew that we could be for the safety of crew, passengers and self as well as concluding the mission. Something that I will always hold close to me, that focus on being the best in my field of expertise, and that will always take me to a positive results on any task that I set out to do for my self.
I remember that at times, the mission, the surrounding area, the communication, could all be a mess, but the “integrity” of knowing my limits, my expertise, my impeccability of how I could fly the aircraft and lead the crew, saved others, and my self in being a better man for my self, my crew’s and mission. To this day, that formula still exists in how I live my life, moment to moment, doing the best I can.
Major “D” taught us how through right choice, right action, doing the very best in what one was trained to do for the accomplishment of the mission, always created the best results for each and consequently the mission. It seems that now, I apply that formula to as much as I can to my life. If it’s worth doing, is worth doing to the best of my abilities.
With that in mind, let me ask you, are you doing your best in what you do for your self and others?
June 25, 2009 2 Comments