Author: dogfightingdepression

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A Million Brave Wingmen Tears


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Woke up to a different sort of Memorial Day than I’d ever experienced. I woke up and wept.

In front of millions. Well, potentially millions, on my new pretend ocean aerie perch, mesmerized by the skyline ridge-hoppin’, ripplin’ & rockin’ half-masted flag. 

Standing alone and unafraid, just the two of us overachieving, just the earliest risers in the grey-misted, persistent Seattle sea winds, but just my brave tears came openly. Flag pole was playing it cool, for the moment. 

First on-deck were tears of guilt, the survivor’s kind, that I dismissed with a knowing nod and a smile, because I’ve kicked the ol’ rusty can down that sad road to nowhere before.

Second tears of memory came with a deep-bellied Santa laugh, because of my good buddy Puj; the very best pure-hearted, naturally heroic, boundless-positivity wingman a guy could ever ask for. 

A 100 % fully trained, officially Gold-Winged, United States Marine Corps fighter pilot, my buddy Puj would have known what to do, if only he was here. He would have immediately smiled broadly and patted me on the shoulder: 

“…so THIS is what’s gotten everyone so bent outta shape? All good PIRP, we will just adapt and overcome, just like we always do. Semper Gumby, always flexible, Dave! Piece. O’. Cake!”

Third came tears of understanding. Of acceptance. Tears of gratitude? Explain this, wtf. 

Because the front lines of this particular war, as Rage Against the Machine loves to snarl at its determined moshers, are now everywhere. 

Luckily for us, our nation’s tumultuous history is blessedly resplendent with the finest servant leaders you could ever imagine; people who somehow manage to focus externally on helping others, even when the bleakness itself is feeling kinda blue about stuff. 

But even better for us, this new crop of heroes we need to serve us once again are everywhere, raised by the beautiful communities that flourish quietly all across our country. Golden-hearted compassionate, raw-mountain strong, fast and flexibly innovative, they only lay dormant, not knowing they are needed, until we call out to them.

So I let out a deep breath, the tight-collar-choker one that had been worried: would this dreadful Era of the Corona showcase the very best of our teeter-tottering indomitable human spirit? 

While you’re thinking about that unnecessarily tangled thought-twister, we can bet ahead of time that it’ll surely spotlight the worst among us too. This is why we need our leaders to teach, and our teachers to lead.

So here is my call-out, the big throw of the switch on the Bat-signal, the all-hands-on-deck plea to our wonderful outliers, our tentative outsiders, our entire hidden gift uncanny X-Men crew watching from the sidelines. And to all the perfect people too, all the winners-at-life, all the bigger-than-you big-shots, we truly need the wisdom and the power of the crowd. Of every one. 

If you’re strong right now, you MUST lend your strength. We all need you. 

If you’re a leader, you MUST lead. We need your steady hand. 

If you’ve got anything good still left inside of you, and I’m confident you’ve got plenty, it’s never too late. We need what you’ve got. 

Ready? It is your time, to show us whatcha got. 

But in the meantime, just for today, let us please remember the very best of those who have come before us; and I would love to imagine the very best of them would be encouraging us to press onward, with strength, humor, compassion, teamwork, and respect. 

And of course, good ol’ fashioned ingenuity. We got this. 

So, piece O’ Cake, to all my new wingmen out there reading this, we got this, just like my brother Puj taught me. 

And love and respect forever, to all my countless fallen wingmen, who are all just like Puj.

We got this, because of what we’ve learned from you, because of what we’ve decided to become, because of you. In your memory, on this day, every year, we thank you for leading the way.

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Addicted to Speed… Adrenaline+Danger+Chaos


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“…anger is a gift…”

– Rage Against The Machine, Freedom

That’s what I used to think. Anger would clarify the unknown. Clear the haze. Provide intense focus. Eliminate all the weak chatter that goes on in your brain during the boring “down times.” Therefore, anger = STRENGTH.

Once you get used to operating in chaos, you miss it when it isn’t there. Chaos allows for urgent innovation, soul-felt intuition and good ol’ fashioned American ingenuity. A brave and intrepid fighter pilot can launch off the carrier deck right into the storm with no idea what the mission is, but you just know they are going to get it done.

World War II German tank commanders used to throw up their arms in frustration; they would go through all the trouble of stealing our tactics manuals, only to find out the entrepreneurial young crews would routinely completely disregard standard procedures en-route to a surprise victory.

This is the power of a free society and an all-volunteer fighting force. Our country creates free-thinking and intelligent citizens; when pressed into action, when forced to figure it out under pressure, no one does it better.

The issue is when we come back. Civilian life seems dreadfully boring at first glance. Everyone is shuffling off to work they usually hate, stuck in traffic and doing the same routine, every… single… day. The tendency will be to chase speed, danger, adrenaline and back to the old comfortable blankie of CHAOS. Chaos feels comfortable somehow, because it brings out the best in us. When we can overcome all odds, and unscramble the madness, we feel heroic. Nothing becomes a man more in time of war than the ability to focus under extreme conditions and accomplish the mission. 

But nothing becomes a man more in time of peace than the ability to use love and compassion to solve conflict. 

Make the necessary adjustments my fellow warriors, and learn from my mistakes. You can never get enough speed or adrenaline or danger to outrun your demons. When you hit the merge, turn around and fight. You won’t regret it.

With love and respect, Dave

  • if you are a veteran in need, my book is yours for free. Send me a message at dogfightDave@gmail.com and it is yours, no questions asked.
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Movie Review

Faster, Funnier Movie Review: INTERSTELLAR


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This post is dedicated to my firstborn son, who turns lucky-number-14 years old today. If you find this my good boy, know that I love and miss you every day. I am proud of you and I can’t wait until we are reunited. Until then stay strong and use every second wisely.

Love, Dad — July 23, 2018

In the squadron there was an expression used to warn a presenter that he was on the verge of sucking: “faster, FUNNIER!” came the cry from the junior pilots in our Ready Room’s back row. If you didn’t somehow pick up the pace and make your briefing more entertaining, you were seconds away from getting booed off stage.

That’s my goal with these movie and book reviews; get in and out fast, giving you just the right amount of lessons learned. So here we go:

INTERSTELLAR

Interstellar-team

This movie is simply about time. Don’t waste any of it. If you’re a father, your children will only be this exact age for this current day, so get hot and make something happen they will remember about fondly. Or with a laugh. If you don’t have kids, overcome whatever fear is holding you back and go get after your dream. Right. Now.

“The best time to plant a tree was thirty years ago … the second best time is right now.”

– Old School Japanese Proverb

super punch out for blog pic

This movie hit me with the TKO Super Punch Out punch because of my strained relationship with my four children. If even one day apart from your kids is excruciating when you want to get back to them, how horrific will YEARS to seem to you. I could feel the lead NASA astronaut pilot’s pain (played by Dazed & Confused breakout Matthew McConaughey… has he been better in anything else?) intensely because I know from experience how overwhelming it is.

So for those of you out there facing something rough, people’s canned and bland advice of “just be patient” isn’t nearly enough. One of my very favorite stories of all time goes like this: when they asked Nelson Mandela how he survived all those years in prison, he had this wise response…

“…I wasn’t surviving, I was PREPARING…”

Whether it is your fault or not doesn’t really matter, because you can’t change what has already occurred. What you CAN change is this:

  1. Learn any and all lessons from what happened => never make them again.
  2. Resolve to make the most of every moment so that when they do come back to you, you’re ready and you’re someone that they can be proud of; NOT someone defeated by sadness and addiction and all that. Don’t just eke out the days, live to the max and make strides towards the future you want while taking ACTION to evolve into the man you want to become. It’s never too late. 
  3. This sounds corny as hell, but the correct solution for any conflict with loved ones is always = COMPASSION & LOVE. Trust me, this works. Replace any jealousy you might have with acceptance and love. No, I don’t do kundalini yoga.

Finally, about time: Einstein said time was just an illusion, and that we experience it chronologically because that’s the only way we know how to make sense of it. The funny part is, you can’t predict what’s going to happen next. So as long as you’re still breathing, you’re still in the fight. NEVER give up. 

Oh yeah, the movie is entertaining as f and should be watched by all: A+

interstellar official.jpg

With love and respect, Dave

  • if you are a veteran in need, my book is yours for free. Send me a message at dogfightDave@gmail.com and it is yours, no questions asked.
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