Skip to main content

Tours of Duty: Combat, Memorial Day & the Distinguished Flying Cross



My accomplishments during my 11-year military career earned me 29 commendations, including the Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Humanitarian Service Medal. When I left the military, I was one of the most highly decorated in the command. 

My commander and supervisor loved it when I put on my dress blues and participated in the various parades and celebrations on base, especially Memorial Day and the 4th of July. I met a few presidents, including George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and a few generals, including Colin Powell and H. Norman Schwarzkopf, that way. And let me tell you, it was truly great to have presidents and generals shake my hand and meant it.

With Memorial Day right around the corner, it’s a good time to look back and reflect. I served my country in foreign lands and during several tours of duty in combat zones, including two combat tours in Iraq. I flew on 32 combat missions from the opening days of the war to its end. In that time, there was never a day I didn’t look death in the face. Never a day I didn’t face AAA, SAMs and more as we flew our missions.

Because of that service, I will always know that when the darkest of hours arrives I will not hesitate. When asked, I answered. When called, I went. When death stared up from the void, I did not fear. I gave because it was my duty and because I felt it was the right thing to do.

I write about some of my experiences in my military memoir, Stormjammers: The Extraordinary Story of Electronic Warfare Operations in the Gulf War, which was featured in a full-page review in the Journal of Electronic Defense and on NPR. Though a memoir, the book is largely a tribute to the men and woman I served with.

If you read Stormjammers and I hope you do, I hope the book opens a window for you as big as the original experiences did for me. After combat, the world never seemed quite the same. The return to normalcy was a strange experience, never quite accomplished. I don’t, in fact, think I ever slowed down or ever quite touched the earth after those experiences. For it was afterward that everything in this world changed—that everything in this world became so clear. And afterward that I set my sights on the future and never looked back.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Some people are the dog. Others, the tail on the dog. Or alternatively why I’m celebrating my 1000th+ title in active worldwide distribution.

Celebrating my 1000th title in active distribution isn’t about numbers. It’s more about helping others understand today’s publishing reality. The reality of today’s working-class writers. In publishing today, a writer who sells a million copies of 1 or a few books is a superstar while a writer who sells millions of copies of many books over many years may not even be considered by some to be successful. That’s because the publishing industry is designed to recognize racing rabbits—those thoroughbred superstars who knock the covers off the ball and sell, sell, sell copies of a single book or a few books by the boatload. The publishing industry isn’t designed for the working-class writer—those tortoises who barely get in a few steps toward first base while the superstars are sliding in to home.

But this tortoise has news. You can be a tortoise and reach home plate too. It takes much longer, requires much more dedication, but it can be done.

Although I don’t have any single book that …

Celebrating 35 years, 150 books and nearly 7.5 million readers. It's been a long run and a mostly great one. Join me and learn what it's like to be a writer.

Happy Holidays! You know you're in the right place in life when you wake up every day with a smile on your face. You know you're in the right place as a writer when that smile is because you're eager to get to the keyboard, eager to get the thoughts racing through your mind down on paper.
That eagerness to capture thoughts on paper has carried me through many days, many years, and many books. As a writer, that eagerness has made the blank page a friend rather than a foe. That blank page can be your friend too--if you let it. And if you let it, you can fill it with everything that's inside you, everything that you can wonder about, everything that you can dream about, and everything that you can imagine.

On my blogs, I've written about and featured the books of many authors who weren't afraid of that blank page either--or maybe they were but they figured out how to turn that fear into something magical, if only for a time. That magical thing being a filled page,…