HOW TO BE MARRIED TO A MARINE FIGHTER PILOT--A Marine Corps pilot's wife: F-4s, F/A-18s and aviators from my perspective.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Aviation Brief XX: Quick Change #2

The new CO of the squadron, Tim Dineen, a good stick and a good guy, flew an A-4 plane with a high time engine which should have been in overhaul. Engines were required to be reworked every certain numbers of hours. A ten-percent flex was built-in just in case a plane was on a cross-country when the maximum threshold had been reached. Col. Dineen flew a plane well past the flex hours, and then ran out of luck when the over-the-maximum-threshold engine quit, he had to eject, and then was ejected from his command.
They held the Change of Command ceremony the next morning in the Group CO’s office, without a marching band or printed programs, presided over by the frown of the Group Commander, and with the outgoing CO conspicuously absent.

I am so thankful that Col. Tim Dineen ejected safely when his luck ran out. And it reminds me that there are reasons for rules on maintenance.

There are also certain rules for maintenance of a marriage. Some of them remind me of the fighter pilot rules of life. One of the jobs of the fighter pilot in air combat maneuvers is to learn the techniques for neutral, defensive and offensive starts--when no plane starts with an advantage, or when the bogey or the ‘good guy’ starts with an advantage.

Marriage shouldn’t be about offense or defense--except when we defend our spouse against all enemies foreign and domestic. Marriage is about establishing common ground--neutral starts. What do we have in common? How can we get where we want to be? Who is that person I’m flying through life with and how can I help him/her be the best they can be? We need to help each other watch out for bogeys and avoid clouds full of rocks.

May all our marriages make it home without ejections, without changes of command.

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