As the holidays approach, it is easy to get sentimental thinking of all the things we can be thankful for, especially living in such a great nation where we enjoy so many of life’s comforts. However, it is not without sacrifice from the few that we get to enjoy freedom and aviation. Many of our nation’s finest will not be home with their families, but instead on the front lines of war. Although we wish and pray that they all come home, we are aware that is not reality. It is this struggle and sacrifice which galvanizes the bonds formed in the service.
Several of us transition out of the service and end up in aviation. For me it was a natural transition. I left my CH-53E unit, HMH-464, to attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University where I would receive my Bachelors in Aviation Maintenance, as well as my flight ratings. Unexpectedly I ended up in the commercial aftermarket when another Marine veteran “recruited” me for the position. I was excited to find that the company I worked for, much like Embry-Riddle, was filled with veterans.
Civilian aviation, like the military, requires a great deal of risk mitigation. There is a necessary level of attention to detail demanded from everyone involved. The receiving clerks, quality inspectors, mechanics, pilots, and management, all contribute to flight safety and operational risk management. Perhaps that’s why we enjoy it so much. Every day is a challenge. Every task is important. Every time we show up to work we’re making planes fly. Each service member performs a task critical to the fight. Each aviation employee performs a task critical to the flight. Whether you’re flying the plane, or sourcing parts for the airlines, these aerodynamic chunks of metal need each person’s help to get airborne. It is at that point that those wings can carry kids to their grandparents, gifts to loved ones, care packages to Afghanistan, food and supplies to those in need, and most importantly troops back to their families. So again, let us remember how blessed we are to work in such a great industry as aviation!