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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

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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

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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+

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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.
  • want more movie and book reviews? This section is for you
Uncategorized

Why You Always Need a Wingman


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At every stage in life we all need a good wingman, and not just when you’re at the bar. This can be a matter of life or death.

The critical concept of “mutual support” was drilled into us as shiny new Ensigns undergoing Primary Flight School training in Corpus Christi, Texas. When it starts going down, you need someone to watch your back and your wingman needs the same.

In a real fleet squadron it was no different. Every time we hit the afterburners and launched from the deck of our aircraft carrier on a combat mission, we had to have a wingman. No wingman, no launch.

No exceptions.

Want to win? Enlisting the aid of another winged Naval Aviator at your side juiced the odds in your favor. Big time. Just one lone wingman exponentially increased your section’s survivability, your chances of successfully completing the mission and most importantly saving our guys and gals on the deck.

With a wingman, you had another set of eyes to watch out for air and ground threats, you had someone else to cover your tail in a dogfight,[1] and you had someone else to safely guide you home ‘back to the boat’ if your nav equipment failed at night in the blackest of clouds. Yeah, that happened to me: icing + complete instrument failure = not so fun.

But all that is meaningless to you if you’re a civilian, except this final point we learned at Navy SERE [2] School: the number one predictor of survival if you were shot down was HAVING ANOTHER SURVIVOR with you.

Not having a bazooka, or Rambo-like wilderness skills. Not even having a ‘positive mental attitude’, which was a close second. Turns out that eventually everyone has a bad day: hunger, loneliness, desperation, fear and hopelessness can strike you on day ten or day three-hundred. When it comes, you’d better have your wingman (either Iceman or in a pinch, Wilson, take your pick) close to get you back on track.

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So how does this apply to you? Don’t go all Han Solo on us and try to do this all by yourself. Find someone and keep each other going through the darkness; with humor, music, sheer force of will, Combos 7-layer Tortilla Dip flavor (awesome, by the way) or whatever you’ve got on hand.

If you don’t have anyone, I’ll be your wingman. Stay alive, no matter what. 

[1] A ‘dogfight’ is pilot term for air-to-air combat within visual range. PETA, can you please stop email spamming me, I love dogs…

[2]Survival, Evasion, Resistance & Escape School: somewhat unpleasant prep for the dreadful chance of getting shot down / ejecting over enemy lines and then captured. Re-enacted by the Navy’s finest sailors, hand-selected for their long standing membership in the Black Shoe’s underground “We Hate Pilots” club.

With love and respect, Dave