“My brother and I always wanted to be pilots, not unlike millions of other kids. Several of our Dad’s friends from the Navy had been pilots, so it didn’t seem unrealistic to us. It was still just a childhood idea until a visit to the Naval Academy focused the goal when I was in 3rd grade. 14 years later, as a midshipman, I lucked into a training tour with a helicopter squadron in Virginia, and was hooked from there. A childhood dream was starting to become a reality.
“Like anyone else who has a handful of deployments under their belt, one tour stands out against the rest. We all reminisce about our first deployment, but I’m lucky. I get to go back in time. I’m stationed with the same squadron and am now the Officer In Charge of the same detachment I first joined over eight years ago. The mission and ship have changed, but I’m following in the footsteps of leaders I admired and revered, hoping to somehow inspire a generation making its first marks on the Navy.
“Honestly, this is not where I saw myself headed the first time around. I wasn’t yet sure if the Navy was in my ‘ten year plan,’ and I certainly never thought I would end up in Guam again, much less the same detachment. 8 years of flying and incredible friendships in Guam, Fallon, and San Diego had a way of changing those plans.
“Nearly 2 years ago, I was struggling with the decision to stay in the Navy or start a new chapter in my life. My always wise and lovely wife, Maddie, asked me this poignant question: ‘What are the chances that you’re going to find something out there that you love as much as the Navy?’ The question suddenly seemed so easy. I going to stay in. I was going to take orders to Guam. And I was going to do it with a love of flying, and pride worthy of flying the flag. And today, we did just that. Three helicopters, with nothing but clear skies around Mt. Fuji so that we could fly the flag.”